Ed Davey writes… Delivering on climate change & delivering on fuel poverty

Ed Davey - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsI write this while on a visit to India. A few weeks ago I was in the US, and I’ve just left China. Why? These three countries are the world’s biggest emitters and the series of meetings I’m having all focus on paving the way for a global climate change deal next year. In the UK, and with our partners across the EU we are gaining momentum for an ambitious deal, which I hope will result in a domestic EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. But, the EU acting alone will not be enough – we need to take the rest of the world with us.

Back in the UK I’ve just announced two significant wins for Lib Dems in government, the first of which is very much about reducing emissions and tackling climate change. I have confirmed the 4th Carbon Budget will remain unchanged. This Budget sets out emissions caps for 2023-2027 and my predecessor Chris Huhne agreed that a review into the 4th Carbon Budget should be conducted to ensure the UK would not be out of kilter with the ambition – or lack of – of our European neighbours. The findings of my review are consistent with those of the Committee on Climate Change – the evidence showed that no change was required. We will not cut our climate change ambition.

Why is this an important victory? It’s common knowledge that keeping the Carbon Budget unchanged hasn’t been a view shared across the whole of government. Yet for the Liberal Democrats, Green NGOs, many businesses and investors, it’s been a priority. Keeping the cap unchanged sends a clear message that we will stick with our ambition to tackle climate change as we look to bolster support for a global deal. It’s been good to see my announcement welcomed by many of the Green NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth, alongside the CBI and many others.

I have also published details on how we intend to tackle fuel poverty in the long-term. While fuel poverty has fallen every year since 2010, there is of course more to do. The new definition of fuel poverty allows us to effectively target the fuel poor as it focuses on households with low incomes and high costs. Let’s not forget that under Labour their definition of fuel poverty was so off the mark that the Queen was said to be fuel poor!

The new proposals focus on driving up the energy efficiency of people’s homes and getting as many of them as we can up to an energy efficiency level of ‘Band C’ by 2030. But given far too many people live in Band G & F homes, this will not be easy. This will be bolstered by interim targets to again get as many as we can to Band E by 2020, and D by 2025. Again, it’s good to see the general welcome that these proposals have received from bodies including the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.

Alongside this we’ve proposed that from 2018 landlords will only be able to rent out properties meeting certain energy efficiency standards and that tenants have a right to request energy efficiency improvements from 2016.

So, when people ask you on the doorsteps what Lib Dems in Government have delivered, add tackling climate change and tackling fuel poverty to your list, which if you read my last post should already include delivering on green energy and green jobs.

* Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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  • ‘Delivering on climate change’ is fantasy politics.

  • Eddie Sammon 25th Jul '14 - 9:43pm

    I liked this post and Ed Davey comes across as very hard working. However, there was one sentence that I didn’t like:

    “Alongside this we’ve proposed that from 2018 landlords will only be able to rent out properties meeting certain energy efficiency standards and that tenants have a right to request energy efficiency improvements from 2016.”.

    We need to be careful not to conduct a war on the poor by saying “green home or no home”. The same goes for fuel. Personally I think we need to move away from centralised energy mixes and people should be able to choose their own energy, which would allow the middle and upper classes to buy more green energy if they wish. Otherwise, we’ll just end up going back to coal fires and wood-burners.

    I also warn against anything to do with emissions trading – very inefficient and only good for the traders.

    Anyone can feel free to take my post apart, I don’t know much on this subject, besides a broad position of wanting a balanced energy policy and more choice for consumers, especially the poor ones.

    Thanks for writing to us whilst you are on your global trips for the UK!

  • Peter Watson 25th Jul '14 - 10:41pm

    “I write this while on a visit to India. A few weeks ago I was in the US, and I’ve just left China.”
    I hope Ed is carbon offsetting all those air miles 😉

  • Anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions contribute a very modest increase to global temperature. The exaggerated alarmist scare is almost entirely a consequence of the incorrect assumptions in climate models. Recent papers show that heating of the troposphere is not happening at the rate predicted, the oceans have been cooling for at least two decades, not warming. There has been no increase in global temperatures this century.

    The so-called pause cannot be explained by any of the models and it is clear that the “missing heat” does not exist. Mr Davey should ask searching questions about the science. He will find that the facts no longer support the rhetoric.

  • Stephen Donnelly 25th Jul '14 - 11:59pm

    Very difficult job, mastering a brief and trying to deliver something half way through parliament. Not sure anyone could have done better, but still, there is nothing we can sell to the electorate here. Ed’s greatest days are yet to come.

  • @Eddie, with the compulsion to ensure Landlords make their home efficient, that will only help the poor. Right now, poorer individuals in most cities (especially ones such as London, where rent is insane) have a very limited choice in where they can live.

    This means that landlords renting out these properties have very strong sway over them and little insensitive to help them. When this position arises, the first thing landlords do is stop investing in their properties. The tenants dare not ask for improvements for the fear of them risking massive hikes their rent.

    However, this is a false economy for them in the remit of energy because they will be the one paying the bills, not the landlord (something which gives the landlord even less reason to invest), meaning they have to foot the bill for inefficient energy usage in their outdated homes.

  • Eddie Sammon 26th Jul '14 - 7:59pm

    Hi Liberal Al. I know the rules introduced will tackle landlords too, but a lot of them are pretty poor as well and in negative equity, so I think we need to be careful (I’m not a property owner, by the way).

    I don’t agree that it is a “landlord’s market” and they aren’t going to want to invest to keep their properties up to date. They are always competing with other landlords, it is a competitive market.

    Any landlords buying with a mortgage now, probably at the top of the market, are going to be desperate for tenants and a lot will be open for negotiations.

    I’m in favour of tackling property tycoons like the Duke of Westminster, but the vast majority of landlords are not.

  • Richard Dean 26th Jul '14 - 8:14pm

    If a landlord must pay for energy-saving improvements, the landlord’s capital costs will go up, so rents will go up too. In principle the re-sale value of the property will increase too, and both this and the capital cost can be properly valued and accounted for in an NPV calculation. Even so, I would not be surprised if the landlord can actually make some extra from the improvement.

    Increasing the rent needn’t affect a landlord’s competitive position if every landlord knows that every other landlord also has to upgrade their property. And if the increase in rent is more than offset by the decrease in the tenant’s energy costs, then it works for the tenant too. But can this be guaranteed? Is it worth having some legislation or some rules about subsidies and inspections that ensure that the tenant does in fact gain something?

  • Melanie Harvey 27th Jul '14 - 2:05am

    And all gov schemes seem to be closed to the poor. Even the ones where loan for the equipment is paid back through it ‘s energy production. If you are poor in the UK you are exempt from being allowed to rise out of said poverty.

  • Tony Dawson 27th Jul '14 - 9:04am

    The ECO scheme has recently bee insulating he homes of millionaire footballers for free while contractors refuse to touch the homes of the poor. The other great beneficiaries are private landlords who are having their capital values greatly-enhanced on the backs of the poor consumer/taxpayer.

  • I am totally convinced that Ed Davey will be remembered for his policies for decades, if not centuries. Future generations will look back on his decisions with great emotion. The implications of his decisions will touch millions of the people on this island.

    God help us all.

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