Huhne and Clegg launch government’s Carbon Plan

Yesterday Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne launched the Government’s Carbon Plan, setting out in draft form the steps the government will take to cut carbon emissions. The plan is now going out to consultation, with the final version due in the Autumn.

There are three priority areas in the plan for change in the way we do things: electricity generation, heating of homes and workplaces and transportation. The plan also commits the government to working for tough international agreements on tackling climate change.

Reflecting Chris Huhne’s eagerness to see environmental action as being good for the economy as well as the environment, the plan was accompanied by a scheme to train at least 1,000 Green Deal apprentices. That would both help implement environmental improvements and provide people with the skills to get jobs.

Nick Clegg said at the launch that,

Nick CleggWe want to be the greenest government ever. We will reshape the economy, change the way we power our transport, heat our homes, and generate our electricity. We must put the development of the green economy at the centre of our ambitions to rebalance the economy.

The Green Deal is about the future – and it is important we ensure that future generations have the skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities of the green economy. These apprenticeships are a perfect example of how government and business can work together towards a low carbon future.

There is a noticeable difference between the comprehensive environmental action in the climate change plan (coming from a Liberal Democrat led department) and the government’s sustainability policies (coming from the Conservative-led Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

Key proposals in the plan include:

  • Legislating to create a floor in the carbon price by April 2011
  • Awarding the contract for the first UK Carbon Capture and Storage demonstration by end of this year
  • Getting the Green Investment Bank operational by September 2012
  • Reducing central government’s emissions by 10% in twelve months to May 2011

Nick Clegg talked about the plan on a visit to B & Q, one of the firms which has been at the forefront of building environmental considerations into its work. Here’s a short video from his visit:

The full Carbon Plan is here.

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  • “We want to be the greenest government ever” – not a very onerous goal bearing in mind the appalling record of all previous governments. But even so Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne should realise that there is far more to ‘being green’ than merely tackling climate change and reducing carbon emissions, as important as these things undoubtedly are. A genuinely ‘green’ government would not contemplate building a major transport link (HS2) through an unspoilt area of outstanding natural beauty (the Chilterns), or building ever more houses on greenbelt land, or going against all expert scientific advice and slaughtering huge numbers of one of our few remaining large native mammals (the badger), or re-legalising the needless and cruel killing of native mammals for sport (by reversing the ban on hunting foxes, deer and hares), again contrary to the scientific evidence, or ….. etc, etc.

    I hope that Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne will demonstrate that their green credentials extend well beyond tackling climate change. In particular, protecting biodiversity and wildlife habitat should be a top priority for the Government.

  • The Government’s decision to review the Feed in Tarriff level and fast-track the upper level for funding at 50 kWp has put many schools and communities projects on the back burner and the same projects will probably now not happen unless they are bundled into smaller projects, which are less effective and therefore, in all probability, no longer viable. So much for the Big Society.

    Government indecision will also have a knock on effect for other projects who require stable legislation for the long term in order to make projects attractive for investors and to train apprentices to service these new industries.

    The SME of green energy are furious and are considering a legal challenge. The decision by the Government to review FITs is putting these fledgling industries at risk (along with all the new jobs that could be created before this latest announcement).

    Without a stable and viable feed-in tariff, community energy will never happen…!

  • JustAnotherVoter 9th Mar '11 - 1:51pm

    Carbon floor price, a.k.a a real carbon tax – long overdue. Set that price high!

    FITS should be killed off. Seeing people on low incomes suffer higher bills to give a guaranteed income for wealthy homeowners who can afford a £10K+ outlay on solar panels is disgusting. Regressive and illiberal.

  • I want to make an important point; I do hope you get the message….

    Do you really think the majority of the electorate give a dam about any carbon plan when we are already paying taxes through the nose and all they are going to do is rise, as the last Conservative government did we will all end up paying more for less, and you want to talk about “carbon plans” when there are people fighting to put food on the table.

    You need to smell the coffee guys, most are concerned with a roof over their heads food on the table and enough to keep warm, and this is before the cuts really bite.

    Reality check please… forget the tick boxes and remember the important bit PEOPLE…

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