Independent on Sunday praises Nick Clegg and Ed Davey for “keeping the low carbon show on the road”

Davey Windmills - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsAn Independent on Sunday editorial today acknowledges the contribution made by the Liberal Democrats to furthering the green agenda while in government. They give Nick Clegg and Ed Davey the credit for driving it forward in the face of opposition from our coalition partners, who come in for some criticism:

The IoS has been disappointed with the Conservatives’ record on the environment. We were prepared to give David Cameron the benefit of the doubt when he put a windmill on his roof and when he proclaimed his intention that the coalition would be the greenest government ever, but if Mr Davey is now able to make that qualified claim, it is despite Mr Cameron, not because of him.

The turning point was George Osborne’s “slowest ship in the convoy” speech to the Tory party conference in 2011, when he said Britain would go along with EU plans for green energy but would not be a leader.

Davey can claim this is the greenest government ever, says the paper, despite David Cameron, not because of him.

Nick Clegg and Mr Davey are entitled to claim, in fact, that they have done more in government than ever before to push the UK along the path to low-carbon energy, which is undoubtedly the most important single goal of environmental sustainability.

And what of Labour in all of this?

As a green newspaper, we say that the Liberal Democrats deserve some credit for keeping the low-carbon show on the road. Ed Miliband, a former Climate Change Secretary himself, is personally committed but seems to have downplayed greenery in favour of an emphasis on the cost of living. The Conservatives deserve some discredit for going back on their “vote blue, go green” promise. And the Green Party urgently needs to sort itself out.

There is a longer interview with Ed Davey who’s in pretty pugnacious form, defending the Liberal Democrats’ record and outlining future plans:

In a bold assertion, the Energy Secretary said the Coalition could stand by Mr Cameron’s prediction, in 2010, that it would be the “greenest government ever”. Mr Davey added that  this was despite the best efforts of Conservative ministers such as Eric Pickles and Owen Paterson, a leading climate change sceptic, to undermine it.

Mr Davey said: “The last Labour government was not very green. They had a shocking record for the first two parliaments and the effect was an energy crisis. This coalition has done all the hard stuff on energy and climate change. We have a much better record on energy and climate change than Labour. We are the first to admit we would have liked to have been even greener. But it is more difficult where you don’t have control [in Tory-led ministries].”

He added: “We are upping the ante on the green agenda. We have done a really cracking job particularly at DECC [the Department of Energy and Climate Change], expanding renewables, energy efficiency, climate change issues. And that is despite quite a few battles with the Tories.

“It is quite clear we need to drive a clear legislative programme. We are ready to go into coalition negotiations saying that the environment is so important to us. We have got the policies in place to deliver it, stay the course and push them through.”

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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29 Comments

  • So the key element from the key quote in the interview is actually —
    “… stay the course and push them through.”

    ” …stay the course…” ???

    What can the words ..” …stay the course…” possibly mean other than “stay with the Conservatives”, “Keep Cameron in Downing Street” ???

    Being greener than the Brown Government was not exactly difficult. Putting up with Cameron for another five years will men more of the same.

    To pretend that another five years of Cameron and his Clmate Change Denyers will be good for Green Government is NOT a convincing line for people with a real interest in and a smattering of knowledge of Green issues: it is either ridiculously naive or it is two-faced opportunism. I do not think that Ed Davey is ridiculously naive.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 1st Mar '15 - 6:05pm

    John Tilley. Bloody hell. Can you never give credit when it’s due?

  • Michael Taylor
    Can you never stop being an apologist?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 1st Mar '15 - 10:23pm

    Enough! Can you discuss the issues and stop flinging insults around. Mick’s comment was on the line, just, but yours was just insulting, Tim.

  • David Allen 1st Mar '15 - 11:02pm

    Here we go again. Two somewhat rude posts, one from a loyalist, one from a non-loyalist.

    Loyalist swears in the course of ducking the question posed by John Tilley, and goes off on a complete tangent. Non-loyalist responds without swearing, and does at least post a response of some relevance to the comment being responded to.

    LDV then comes along and declares that the non-loyalist comment was the more offensive. As they say – Enough!

  • Nigel Quinton 1st Mar '15 - 11:15pm

    What Dr Taylor said.

    I am not a huge fan of how we have managed being in coalition, but one of the genuine achievements has been our stewardship of DECC under both Ed Davey and Chris Huhne despite the constant undermining by the Tories, either in DEFRA or the Treasury. I am pretty certain that Ed Davey craves another 5 years of coalition with the Tories like a hole in the head. What I am sure he does crave is the opportunity to carry on the reforms we have started, and to be able to do a lot more.

  • Dr Michael Taylor 1st Mar ’15 – 6:05pm
    “….credit when it’s due?”

    It is not obvious what you think deserves credit?
    Is it being slightly less conservative than Lord Lawson? If you think that deserves credit and unstinting praise, we will have to disagree.
    Is it about the failure to make any significant impact on cold homes so that we still have around 20,000 “excess winter deaths” every year amongst elderly people ? If you think that deserves credit and unstinting praise, we will have to disagree.
    Is it about subsidising new nuclear power stations, having sworn to the electorate that you would do the opposite? If you think that deserves credit and unstinting praise, we will have to disagree.
    Is it about subsidising the privatised nuclear industry by clearing up their poisonous waste at a cost of £Bilions of taxpayers’ money ? If you think that deserves credit and unstinting praise, we will have to disagree.

    According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may rise to 9 million next year.
    If Dr Michael Taylor thinks that this deserves credit and unstinting praise, we will have to disagree.

    Until Michael Taylor tells us what believes rather than demanding that LDV be an echo chamber for unquestioning followers of Conservative Coalistionism, we can only guess.

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Mar '15 - 10:17am

    @John Tilley “According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may rise to 9 million next year”

    Fuel prices are falling – why would that cause the number living in fuel poverty to nearly double ?

  • Julian Tisi 2nd Mar '15 - 1:34pm

    Those two quotes from the IOS 1 Mar 15 “Nick Clegg and Mr Davey are entitled to claim, in fact, that they have done more in government than ever before to push the UK along the path to low-carbon energy, which is undoubtedly the most important single goal of environmental sustainability.” and “we say that the Liberal Democrats deserve some credit for keeping the low-carbon show on the road. Ed Miliband, a former Climate Change Secretary himself, is personally committed but seems to have downplayed greenery in favour of an emphasis on the cost of living. The Conservatives deserve some discredit for going back on their “vote blue, go green” promise. And the Green Party urgently needs to sort itself out.” should be copied and pasted onto our literature and stuffed through letter boxes writ large

  • Julian Heather 2nd Mar '15 - 1:37pm

    John Tilley says in response to Mick Taylor “It is not obvious what you think deserves credit?”

    How about ?

    Numbers in fuel poverty declining in every year of this government

    Investment in renewables more than double that under the last Labour government, and for the past three years the highest of any country in Europe.

    UK leadership in pressing Europe to adopt an ambitious carbon emissions target reduction for 2030, as publicly acknowledged by the Prime Minister of Finland and green groups

    Substantial increase in energy efficiency which has increased by over 5% in the last year alone

    Significant incraese in the market share of independent energy suppliers from less than 1% to over 10%, breaking the stranglehold of the Big 6

    Production of Britain’s first ever community energy strategy to widespread acclaim from the community energy sector

    The list goes on and on.

    And of course Liberal Democrats would have liked to have done even more – but there’s that little thing known as being in coalition.

    I am proud of what Liberal Democrats have achieved on the green agenda and it is good that this is recognised by the Independent, even if not by John Tilley !

  • Simon McGrath — if you are genuinely interested , the answer is in this short report –

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48299/4664-exec-summary-fuel-pov-final-rpt.pdf

  • Thank you Julian.

    Your comment just makes me want to print it out on a leaflet and shove hundreds through people’s letterboxes.

  • Julian Heather

    You seem to beieve that fuel poverty is declining.
    The Government’s own Fuel Poverty Advisory Group says otherwise.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/48299/4664-exec-summary-fuel-pov-final-rpt.pdf

  • Dr Michael Taylor, Julian Heather and others — let us give credit where it is due.  This is an verbatim extract from the report published last week —

    Alleviating fuel poverty

    The only real long term sustainable solution to alleviating fuel poverty is to establish a properly funded program that insulates all the homes affected and ensures an efficient heating system is installed. Guaranteeing this outcome will require significant investment and will take about £1.7 billion per annum over 15 years.

    Some may argue that the parlous state of Government finances will preclude such progress. I profoundly disagree. This is about political will, driven by a robust understanding of the benefits case. Fuel poverty can severely affect people’s health because those affected often under-heat their homes.

    Cold homes are estimated to burden the NHS with costs of £1.36 billion per annum.
    1 It is also a known contributor to the 25,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ per year in England and Wales.
    2 As the aging population increases, so will the risks and cost.
    The Government has carbon reduction targets related to household carbon emissions it must achieve, yet fuel poor households are typically very inefficient, older dwellings, meaning they are needlessly wasting energy and increasing emissions. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/405588/fpag_12th_annual_report_2013_2014.pdf

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Mar '15 - 5:10pm

    @john tilley – thanks for the reference – it doesnt say fuel poverty is increasing from 5m to 9 million households.

  • Simon McGrath — See graph on page 5

  • Simon McGrath – the relevant wording from page 5
    “…For comparative purposes we also set out projections for the current indicator, which show a range extending from 3.1 million to 9.2 million households (43 per cent of the total in England) in fuel poverty by 2016.”

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Mar '15 - 6:05pm

    John Tilley
    “According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may rise to 9 million next year.”
    “For comparative purposes we also set out projections for the current indicator, which show a range extending from 3.1 million to 9.2 million households… in fuel poverty by 2016.”

    So you could equally well have said “According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may fall to 3.1 million next year.” In other words, they don’t really have a clue as to what the number will be. (And the report, by the way, is 3 years old — I doubt the higher-end projections were based on assumptions of a halving in oil prices in 2014.)

    Your evidence really really doesn’t support your argument here.

  • Simon McGrath 2nd Mar '15 - 6:16pm

    @John – did you actually read it? they say that depending on fuel prices the level might be 3.1m and it might be 9.2m.
    It makes no more sense to say the report show fuel poverty increasing to 9.2m than it does to say it shows fuel poverty reducing to 3.1m .

  • And let us not forget – with regard to the Green agenda – Baroness Kramer’s invaluable work in encouraging fracking. Very popular among many Somerset residents.

  • Simon McGrath and Malcolm Todd may think that it is perfectly OK for there to be millions of homes suffering from fuel poverty and that there are more than 20,000 “excess deaths” resulting from this.

    Just for the record — anyone can go back and read through this thread —
    “..JohnTilley 2nd Mar ’15 – 8:46am”
    this is what I actually said — “….According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may rise to 9 million next year.”

    Simon McGrath questioned this — so I provided the source, which was an official report commissioned by Chris Huhne when he was Secretary of State.
    I provided a link to that report.
    Simon McGrath claimed that the report said something else.
    So I provided the exact wording.
    Simon McGrath then tries again to suggest that the report says something other than it actually said.

    Then Malcom Todd pitches in to say that the report does not support my argument. What argument did he have in mind, I wonder?
    I quoted the report on fuel poverty and said that I did not think it demonstrated a record of unqualified success.

    I did not say that the number “would be” 9 million, I simply quoted the report.

    I also quoted the report published last week which emphasises the fact of deaths from fuel poverty. Malcolm Todd ignores this and complains that the earlier report was 3 years old. So he ignores the facts in the report which came out last week so as to suggest that a report from 3 years ago does not support an argument that I did not make.

    Simon McGrath and Malcolm Todd may think that it is perfectly OK for there to be millions of homes suffering from fuel poverty and that there are more than 20,000 “excess deaths” resulting from this.

    They may think that is a Coalition Success. If so – they should say so.

  • Simon McGrath 3rd Mar '15 - 10:10am

    @ John when in hole …..

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Mar '15 - 10:51am

    John
    I think you know perfectly well that I don’t think that “it is perfectly OK for there to be millions of homes suffering from fuel poverty” and to suggest that I do is just vile mud-flinging. (But then, I suppose if you carry on digging you have to get rid of the mud somewhere.)
    You cited that report and quoted from it in support of your earlier claim that “According to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group there are 5 million households living in fuel poverty, and they calculate that the number may rise to 9 million next year.” Immediately before my comment you had gone back to it in an attempt to show that it supported your claim. It’s no good pretending this is some distraction that I introduced. I’m afraid you’re only interested in “winning” these threads, and to that end you portray anybody who questions your arguments or your evidence as on the “other side” – oh let’s just call it “the Dark Side” for simplicity. After all, if we weren’t evil Cleggite crypto-Tories we’d already agree with you and just ignore any wild inconsistencies in your argument, wouldn’t we? Because we’d be on your side, and that’s the crucial distinction.

    “I did not say that the number ‘would be’ 9 million, I simply quoted the report.” — no, you didn’t “simply” quote the report. You quoted it selectively, and approvingly. I called you out on that and you didn’t like it. Tough.

  • Malcom Todd,

    So we agree that more than 20,000 excess deaths every year is not an example of a staggering Coalition success.

    We agree that millions of homes suffering fuel poverty is a disgrace.

    Neither of us dispute the following from the report published last week —

    Cold homes are estimated to burden the NHS with costs of £1.36 billion per annum.
    1 It is also a known contributor to the 25,000 ‘excess winter deaths’ per year in England and Wales.
    2 As the aging population increases, so will the risks and cost.
    The Government has carbon reduction targets related to household carbon emissions it must achieve, yet fuel poor households are typically very inefficient, older dwellings, meaning they are needlessly wasting energy and increasing emissions. 

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/405588/fpag_12th_annual_report_2013_2014.pdf

    These are the important facts, another five years of Cameron in Downing Street will do nothing to improve the situation.

  • David Allen 3rd Mar '15 - 11:58am

    Malcolm,

    Tilley said exactly what he said he said. It was slightly selective to say “may rise to 9 million” when a more complete account would have been “may or may not rise to 9 million”. However, in the overall scheme of political misrepresentation felonies, this one barely qualifies as a minor misdemeanour.

    You say ” I’m afraid you’re only interested in “winning” these threads”. I fear that you, and Simon McGrath, are the people who have shown the greater determination to “win” this thread, by whatever means you can find.

    My own impression is that the Lib Dem record on the environment in coalition is patchy, but does include successes as well as failures. It is therefore a sight more successful than the Lib Dem record in coalition on almost everything else!

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Mar '15 - 1:22pm

    To quote David Allen (from memory) in another thread “‘You said, …’ ‘No, I said …’ Yawn.” Perhaps there’s an Allen rule on when exactly it becomes uninteresting to consider what someone has actually said and try to hold them to account for it?

  • David Allen 3rd Mar '15 - 3:01pm

    Yes there’s a rule, though it’s not mine. When you’re in the wrong, it’s boring for someone to tell you so!

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Mar '15 - 3:24pm

    Do you understand what you’ve just said, David? That I was quoting you…?
    Anyway, at the risk, in that case, of boring you:
    “Tilley said exactly what he said he said. ” — well, that’s helpful. What he exactly said, by the way, included a nasty personal slur; but as we know, that doesn’t matter unless the wrong person does it.
    “It was slightly selective to say ‘may rise to 9 million’ when a more complete account would have been ‘may or may not rise to 9 million’. ” — no, it was highly selective when a more complete (i.e. less misleading) account would have been “may rise to as much as 9 million or fall by as much as 2 million“.
    Perhaps you think distorting or misrepresenting the evidence doesn’t matter so long as you’re on the “right” side of the argument. I think it’s both wrong in principle and discredits the argument and the arguer.

    Am I boring you yet?

  • Malcolm Todd 3rd Mar ’15 – 3:24pm

    You may or may not be boring. You are certainly wrong in your accusation. If you cannot admit that by going back and reading what you said that’s your problem.
    You are showing yourself to be obsessive about the trivial froth around a discussion rather than the substance of the discussion itself.
    You seem to agree with me on the substance of the discussion — from what you have said you do not think that more than 20,000 excess winter deaths are a good thing; you also do not think that millions of homes suffering from fuel poverty is a sparkling Coalition success.
    So why does it matter to you that quoting verbatim from a published report and providing a link to that report for all to see is in your mind being “highly selective”?
    I do not accept that I was being selective ( let alone highly selective ) but can you not see that your criticism is a trivial side show to the real issue here?

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