Reply From Angela Smith, MP
By Paul Homewood
Readers will recall I wrote to my MP a couple of months, asking for her views on the Climate Change Act.
This was my letter:
With regard to the Climate Change Act and decarbonisation targets, can I start by asking if you are aware of the following:
1) Legislation has already been passed for the Fourth Carbon Budget period of 2023-27, which commits the UK to reduce GHG emissions by 52% from 1990 levels.
2) The Committee on Climate Change is now recommending this be increased to a cut of 57% for 2028-32.
3) On the other hand, the EU’s commitment, included in its INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contribution), is only for a cut of 40% from 1990 by 2030. This pledge will be the EU’s specific commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty.
4) The Paris Agreement specifically acknowledges that the various INDCs submitted will lead to a projected GHG annual level of 55 GtCO2e by 2030. This is an increase on the latest estimate available, which was 49 Gt in 2010, and a huge increase over the 2005 figure of 37 Gt
5) UK emissions of GHG amount to little more then 1% of global emissions, and therefore any reductions made in the UK will have virtually no effect globally.
6) The cost, ultimately payable by householders, for this decarbonisation is massive. The OBR project a cost of £13.6bn for 2020/21. This is an increase on the current year’s cost of £3.6bn.
7) The Committee on Climate Change forecast that these costs will increase by another £4.8bn by 2030, if their targets are to be achieved.
8) The UK has already achieved a cut of 32% in GHG since 1990. Latest projections from DECC suggest that we will have cut by 40% by 2017.
Bearing the above points in mind, what is the justification making bigger cuts than our EU partners, never mind the rest of the world which will be increasing emissions?
Do you agree that we should revise legislation to reflect a cut of 40% by 2030 and thereby avoid the massive extra costs projected?
I have now received her reply, or I should say the copy of the letter sent to her by Lord Bourne, Under Secretary of State at DECC:
It comes as no surprise, but is still nevertheless depressing, that my MP appears to have neither any views of her own on the subject, nor any knowledge. Remember that she is a Labour MP. I can think of no other topic where an opposition MP would so readily accept the views of a government minister.
But let’s look more closely at the reply:
Lord Bourne does not even attempt to argue with my contention that the planned emissions cuts in the UK go way beyond the rest of the EU and that they will be horrifically expensive.
His only justification is that “This Government is committed to the Climate Change Act”.
[Significantly, he does not make the claim that Bob Ward did the other week, that the proposals for the Fifth Carbon Budget are the most cost effective way of meeting the 2050 target]
Secondly, while he waffles on about the Paris Agreement, he does not dispute, or deal with, the fact that Paris is likely to see an increase in global emissions by 2030.
I also find this statement extraordinary:
“And as global action ramps up, this will support innovation and economies of scale which will drive down the costs of climate action as well as starting to level the playing field for UK businesses.”
If the costs of renewables and so on are expected to fall, why on earth are we locking ourselves into long term contracts now? I am grateful too that he has acknowledged that UK businesses have not got a level playing field at the moment. Perhaps he would care to tell us just how long it will be before we have?
Finally he claims that the UK fought hard to secure an EU target of 40%. But he fails to explain that if the UK makes greater savings, as proposed, other EU countries will simply be allowed to get away with smaller savings.
If he is serious about setting a stiffer target for the EU, surely the way to do it is make greater savings on our part conditional on any deal, not to have already thrown them on the table.
Summing up, I find it depressing that are politicians are so keen to unquestioningly land the country with such a massive bill, and all for little or no benefit.