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Coalition sets out ambitious climate change policies

July 27, 2010 1:28 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Chris Huhne today set out ambitious plans to tackle climate change and give the UK the secure, low carbon energy it needs.

In his first Annual Energy Statement to the House of Commons, Chris Huhne laid out "a clear strategy for creating the 21st century energy system that this country urgently needs for an affordable, secure, low-carbon future."

This included a series of measures to improve energy efficiency and boost renewables, protect vulnerable consumers, as well as pledging to push for ambitious action on climate change at home and abroad.

Commenting, Chris Huhne said:

"The coalition brings resolve and stability to energy and climate change policy. Today's Annual Energy Statement sets out 32 important actions, the beginnings of our efforts to introduce the transparency, certainty and long-termism needed by investors.

"Our future energy system is too important to rely on crystal ball gazing. The 2050 Calculator provides the most comprehensive, long term analysis ever undertaken by Government. The decision to publish this material is a watershed in government's honesty with the public about what's needed in the long term. It will guide the decisions we make during this Parliament about the energy system we want in 40 years' time.

"The challenge is ambitious but achievable. We're already on track to cut the UK's emissions by 34% by 2020, and will do more if we can win the case for greater ambition across the whole EU. But our line of sight needs to extend much further, through to the middle of the century.

"The era of cheap, abundant energy is over, we must find smart ways of making the energy we use go further, and value it for the costly resource it is, not taking it for granted. And even as we reduce overall demand for energy, we may need to meet a near doubling in demand for electricity, as we shift industry, transport and heating onto the grid.

"There are big choices and big trade offs in how we do this. The six pathways described today are only illustrative, but they highlight the scale and urgency of the task.

"Choosing the high carbon alternative would be high risk. It would lock in exposure to volatile oil prices, declining global reserves and rapidly increasing global energy demand. We'd risk having a dead end economy lagging behind those with the foresight to grab a share of growth in green industries."

Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee for Energy and Climate Change, Andrew George added:

"Climate change is the greatest threat we face as a society and a planet. I am proud that Liberal Democrats in Government are taking this seriously and proposing radical steps to tackle it.

"The Coalition has today set out the most ambitious programme to create a secure, low carbon economy of any British Government in history.

"It is vital that as we tackle these issues we protect the most vulnerable consumers, which is why rolling out measures like home insulation and smart meters is so important."