Politics

Climate Change

What is the government policy on climate change?

The Climate Change Act 2008 is the law of the land and sets out the policy which is to decarbonise our economy and avoid dangerous climate change. The Energy Bill is in process. 

What to do the great and the good think about climate change?

Sir John Beddington, the Government’s chief scientific adviser, says “The evidence is compelling that climate change is happening, that human activities are the major driver for this and that the future risks are substantial”.

What does my MP think about climate change?  

Even if the greens are right Britain will make very little difference on her own and I would rather my constituents were warm and prosperous rather than cold and impoverished as we are overtaken by emerging markets who understandably put people before polar bears”.

It is perhaps worth noting that it is not a matter of the “greens” being right but a matter of science being right. Further, environmental costs are just that “costs”, and ignoring them doesn’t solve any problems. The financial crisis is bad enough but we also have an environmental-cost-crisis and global warming will not make us more prosperous.

Unconventional Gas

What is the government policy on unconventional gas?

Government policy on unconventional gas is schizophrenic, elements of the Conservative right are very much for it, whilst other Conservatives are clearly concerned about the possible impacts. The Liberal Democrats and Labour are far more sceptical. Having said that the government has put in place the licensing framework, the exploration licences and a new Office for Unconventional Gas.

What do the great and the good think about unconventional gas?

Chales Hendry MP, the sacked Conservative Minister for Energy, has said “don’t bet the farm on shale gas”

Tessa Munt, MP for Wells says “I am deeply concerned that if the Fracking companies moved into Somerset we would have serious issues to contend with such as the overuse of water, the possible affects on drinking water quality and availability, transport issues bringing water, chemicals and equip to and fro on small already crowded roads, issues around Methane escape, a dramatic affect on the tourist industry, agriculture and standard of life and industrialising a rural landscape with potentially the ‘spiders web’ of well heads scattered over the landscape”.

Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climage Changes says: “It is not the golden goose”

Christof Rühl, BP’s chief economist says: “its not likely to be a big game-changer in the natural gas market”

David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change says: “It is not going to be a game changer, …, let’s be clear, it is not going to drive prices down and it is carbon intensive”

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica (British Gas) said: it would be at least a decade before the UK saw any shale gas production and that, even then, it would not be “the game changer we’ve seen in North America”.

What does my MP think about unconventional gas?

“This leads on to cheap energy which will be essential if we are to compete globally. Hydraulic fracturing may be part of the solution but carbon emission targets will not be”. What! 

“In my opinion hydraulic fracturing is a promising method of gas extraction because it is relatively cheap and has led to a large fall in energy costs in the United States”.

It is worth noting that the US gas market is very different to the UK’s and almost nobody believes that the US case is repeatable in the UK.

“Energy poverty could be practically eliminated. Thus I remain cautiously in favour subject to further evidence becoming available.”

There is no evidence that energy poverty could be eliminated, the London School of Economics has recently stated “In terms of its impact on prices, UK shale gas would be marketed internationally and subject to international prices. The effect on domestic price volatility would be uncertain, but likely limited”, others estimate that it may even force prices up.

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