All posts filed under: Environment

To what extent have recent governments kept their green promises?

After the inconclusive election in 2010, the coalition’s programme for government had substantially covered the challenge of climate change, some would say as strongly as it talked  about cutting the deficit. On 14 May, three days after becoming prime minister, Cameron went to the Department of Energy and Climate Change to declare his would be “the greenest government ever”. He even appointed himself the department’s “fourth minister”. Yet, Osborne’s cold wall of austerity quickly undermined meaningful green action and the few coalition environmental policies never seemed to truly take effect. Cameron’s off the cuff remark to get rid of  “all the green crap” and his reluctance to prioritise the environment over austerity meant the coalition government had fallen short.

Cameron VS the Liberal Democrats: The Green Tax Promise

  David Cameron is said to be going back on his word about green taxes despite obligations from Lib Dems.   David Cameron has come under fire for his statement on reviewing energy bills. The Prime Minister said that the green taxes had helped push up household bills to “unacceptable” prices, but a source close to the prime minister said his message in private was blunter than that. He is claimed to have said, “We’ve got to get rid of all this green crap.” Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in December will set out new plans to reduce the impact of environmental impacts on fuel bills. The changes have set out to cause disruptions in the coalition government because the Lib Dems vowed to prevent in any falls in levies during this parliament.   The Lib Dems are also keen to keep the green taxes, arguing they are essential to creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy supply for the UK. Cameron wants to scrap most of the charges, which help subsidise wind farms and pay …

Coalition environment policy overview (15 mark plans)

Nuclear -The coalition agreement reached a compromise on Nuclear power that there would be no new power stations subsidised by taxpayers however the government has spent £68bn dealing with old nuclear reactors -Coalition had planned for 8 new plants to open over its tenure in government however energy companies such as EDF are looking for more assurance from the government in the face of now public subsidies -Nuclear counts as a low carbon energy so helps the coalition reach its targets but pressure groups such as boycottEDF are concerned about the impact of waste disposal combined with the economic cost of decommissioning which can cost £48bn Renewables -Clear division between the coalition partners here as the Lib Dems support wind power and other renewable energy sources whereas the conservatives traditionally want to ‘protect the countryside’. Ed Davey  slapped down his new Conservative minister of state for claiming that no more onshore windfarms need be built in Britain. -The coalition agreement is in favour of renewable energy and the Energy Act 2011 introduced a 30% renewables …

Shale gas

Government policy towards shale gas, like many things, is split. The PM and Chancellor support extending fracking as it could reduce energy bills, whereas the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, Edward Davey seemingly doubts this idea. The ban on fracking was lifted in December and if shale gas lives up to Conservative expectation then the economy would indeed benefit. Shale gas does have the potential to supply the UK with much cheaper energy, but this is just potential rather than guarantee. Davey recently stated “we don’t know whether we will find lots of technically recoverable shale gas in the United Kingdom and the chances that it will affect our gas price I think, most experts think, is unlikely.” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9742662/Coalition-split-over-whether-fracking-will-cut-your-gas-bill.html) Though almost 60% of Britain’s land can be found to host shale reserves, it’s unknown whether this is useful, and the price of the extraction process remains unknown. Therefore, automatic assumptions and comparisons to Shale Gas in America are of little use at present. The idea that energy prices would significantly fall in Britain is unlikely, if …

UK Energy Bill 2012-13

The row over the coalition’s energy policy is said to have been reignited with the threat of a backbench rebellion on the new energy bill, led by former Tory minister Tim Yeo. After months of speculation and lobbying, Energy minister Ed Davey has unveiled the government’s much-trailed Energy Bill, setting out the roadmap for the UK’s switch to “a low-carbon economy”. However, Yeo, who is chairman of the Energy and Climate Change select committee, is not completely convinced as to whether the bill will really produce ‘a low carbon economy’ and so gave a speech urging the coalition to accept an amendment to put a decarbonisation target in the bill. Although, amendments cannot be made at this stage, when the bill enters the committee and reporting stages early next year, an amendment is likely to be brought forward. The measurements of the bill and consultations proposed include: Household energy bills to rise £100 on average by 2020 “Green” levy charged by energy firms to rise from £3bn to £7.6bn Switch to clean energy to cost £110bn …

A summary of Global, EU and UK Environmental laws

UK environmental laws can be dated back thousands of years, based on medieval protection of water and land. They have changed considerably since then; however this is mainly driven by health implications not environmental concerns.   The 1990’s saw a change of pace in terms of environmental legislation in the UK with a shift in emphasis towards newer concerns away from health issues. The UK’s environmental legislation was becoming less fragmented with the influence of international treaties and changing global attitudes and outlooks as the reality of climate change has grown stronger. Many international laws and policies were introduced relating to: atmospheric pollution, oceans and seas, wildlife and biodiversity and the protection of habitat.   The main global, international environmental law is the Kyoto Protocol which set binding obligations on industrialised countries (including the UK) to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The Kyoto Protocol was entered into force in February 2005 and as of September 2011, 191 states have signed and ratified the protocol. Other international agreements on climate change include, the Copenhagen Accord (2009), …

“The Greenest Government Ever” – Coalition environmental policy

The coalitions pledge to ‘a low carbon economy’ was declared in their 2010 manifesto. The actions regarding this promise have unfortunately been few and far between. A promising start brought a refusal of the BAA’s new runway at Heathrow airport and further banning of any new runways at Gatwick or Sansted being built until 2020. However, this was followed by the agreement to the high speed rail plans for the HS2, linking London directly to Birmingham. Despite a back lash from many in rural areas who fear for their scenic back gardens; the Coalition has gone ahead. This is an attempt to boost local economies and make up for the revenue that will be lost from the lack of an extra runway, maybe not as positive for economic growth but is far more promising for the environment. This may be short lived as 30 Conservative back benchers have wrote a formal letter to the government pleading for reconsideration of the runway ban. This followed tensions between the Climate Change secretary Chris Huhne (now replaced by …