Serious Questions About UK Energy and Climate Change Policy

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With the global climate crisis growing ever more urgent, the sharp rise in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010 is deeply worrying – and raises serious questions about the progress being made in our energy and climate change policy (‘Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions in shock 3.1% rise’, 8 February).

The increase in emissions from home heating is especially alarming when you consider that, by the Government’s own admission, loft lagging will fall by 93% when the Green Deal comes into force. If we are to stand any chance of improving the efficiency of our homes and tackling fuel poverty, the new energy and climate secretary Ed Davey must make it a personal priority to strengthen this weak and underfunded programme so that it actually delivers a good deal for households.

Furthermore, the fact that a six-month shutdown of the Sizewell nuclear reactor was partly to blame for the recorded rise in emissions is yet another reason for the Government to ditch its belief that nuclear can deliver the secure, reliable and low carbon energy we need for the future.

This week, the Bank of England is expected to announce a new batch of quantitative easing to the tune of £50bn or more. A new report from the Green New Deal Group and the Southampton University economics professor who coined the term ‘quantitative easing’, Richard Werner, is calling for such cash to be injected into a programme of green investment to support badly needed renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Rather than handing the money over to the banks, who then sit on it and refuse to lend, green QE would put money into the wider economy – creating thousands of new jobs, improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion.  Green Party

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