The Conservative MP Tim Yeo is taking a principled stand on the Energy Bill and plans to include a ‘decarbonisation target’ amendment as the Bill gets debated in Parliament. He says the Treasury must stop supporting gas and focus on getting a significant percentage of our all electricity from clean sources by 2030.
He told a group of energy investors (FT) in the City:
Lumbering the economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad.
I think the choice facing Britain is clear. We can embrace the technology of the future, set a target to reduce our present heavy dependence on fossil fuels and upgrade our electricity system. Or we can cling to the combustion-based technologies of the past, gamble the future on assumptions about the availability of abundant cheap gas and slow down the process of decarbonising our economy.
Those words should be music to anyone who cares not just for the environment but also for the future of our energy policy. George Osborne is vastly inflating the benefits and returns from Shale Gas ‘fracking’ in the UK. Boris Johnson is helpfully churning out very misleading articles to bolster the case.
I’m writing on LibdemVoice to urge Ed Davey to support the amendment, and to encourage Libdems to lobby him to do so.
We need a decarbonisation target in the Energy Bill to ensure this government does not kick the development of clean energy into the long grass. Our environment and energy needs are too vital to be held ransom by the extremists from the Tory Right.
Obviously I hope the Labour party will also support the amendment, but a lot will depend on how Ed Davey decides to approach it.
The intervention by Tim Yeo is driven by pragmatism not blind ideology. As he told the Radio 4 Today programme yesterday: “What we want to see is scale up the renewable technologies, and that way they may become cost competitive and Britain could be a leader once again in an energy revolution.”
I hope Ed Davey and the Libdems can also get behind that vision.
* Sunny Hundal is editor of Liberal Conspiracy.