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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Miliband’

I’ve just finished watching the first of three episodes of The Future of Food on iplayer. In it there’s a fascinating interview with Hilary Benn, secretary of state for DEFRA. Fascinating not because of what he says, but what he doesn’t say. On this programme about the upcoming global food shortages (mainly due to fuel prices, water shortage, and changing climate), he says:

We know we’re going to have to grow more food with a changing climate and probably less water being available… I think looking at what happened last year, the food riots, the rise in prices, we’ve got to take responsibility now to ensure that people have enough food to eat.

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Government launched a barrage of documents at us yesterday. I was mostly watching out for the Renewable Strategy but that was only a small part of it. Here’s the reading roundup:

  • UK Low Carbon Transition Plan – this is the overarching doc. It’s basically the roadmap to meeting the legally binding carbon budgets from now to 2050 with some good stuff on how it will be done. But puts a hell of a lot of faith in nuclear, building new coal (with mythical magical CCS), and the efficacy of the EU ETS. 7m homes to get refurbed under Pay as You Save (more on this later). Cars to emit less carbon.
  • Consultation on Renewable and Small Scale Low Carbon Electricity Financial Incentives – the consultation on the RO and the Feed in Tariff. They appear to have watered down the FiT saying 5% return is enough to attract investment. We’ve got to stop the government from nickel and diming its way into grand sounding but useless gestures.
  • Renewable Energy Strategy – Following the draft version in 2008, this doc lays out the map for the UK to meet 15% of its total energy requirements from renewables by 2020 (this in an EU requirement as opposed to the other targets with are internal). A good thing: renewables claiming FiT’s are also likely to count towards Zero Carbon standard.
  • Low Carbon Industrial Strategy – much of the above recycled but in the context of UK business. How jobs will be created and the costs of transitioning to a low carbon economy will be minimised. It might have been the picture of Peter Mandelson in the intro, but I struggled to maintain any enthusiasm reading this one. Tidal power to get £60m. Nuclear to get a £15m research centre (let the subsidies begin!), the SW of England to become a pilot low carbon economic area.

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Away from the fanfare around Ed Miliband’s announcement that a feed in tariff (FiT) is on the way, the Lords have been debating an amendment to the Energy Bill that has the support of Conservatives, Lib Dems, and even some Labour peers.

What’s in the amendment? It says the Secretary of State has one year from the passing of the bill to bring in a feed in tariff. And the qualifying technologies, their maximum capacity, and their level of support are left to the Secretary of State to decide with no specified cap.

Despite wide support, it was clear that the Government wouldn’t officially get behind the bill as it wasn’t their idea. In fact, as recently as June the Government were firmly against a feed in tariff.

Baroness Wilcox, the amendment’s sponsor, has now withdrawn it, but only on the condition that the Government meet specific terms in their own amendment, which they’re expected put forward on 5 November. However, if the Government doesn’t fulfill her demands, she will reintroduce her original amendment. Here are her terms in a nutshell (my comments in italics):

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Ed Miliband has just made his first speech to parliament in his role as head of the DECC. In it, he said he’ll accept all of the findings of the Committee on Climate Change and will amend the climate change bill to raise the legally binding cuts from 60% to 80%. He will also amend the bill to include a feed in tariff for “small community-scale renewable energy projects” as well as microgeneration. No indication of what this means in terms of kW’s or, crucially, what level of support they’ll offer.

Excellent news. Also positive is that Greg Clark, the shadow secretary for energy and climate change, was broadly in favour of the announcements. And he criticised big Ed for not including measures for renewable heat. I disagree with him about the “renewable” part, but it’s heartening to hear mainstream politicians getting close to the crux of the issue.

More details here.

Full text and ministerial bumpf here.

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