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The Conservatives' Ten Point Plan in no way matches the scale of what is needed to generate a Green Economic Recovery

November 27, 2020 9:52 AM
By Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP, Sarah Olney MP, Lord Oates, Jürgen Maier

Ed Davey MP (Graham Neale)Dear Boris and Alok,
We had hoped to be writing to welcome fully your government's action plan to achieve net-zero.
However your Ten Point Plan in no way matches the scale of what is needed to generate a Green
Economic Recovery, let alone fast track the UK towards tackling the climate emergency.
In Government, the Liberal Democrats delivered a historic increase in the UK's renewable electricity,
devised and led policies that have made the UK the world leader in offshore wind power and
developed a range of global firsts, from the world's only CCS-gas power plant project to roadmaps
for decarbonising the UK's energy intensive industries. Since 2015, we have regrettably seen five
largely wasted years, with significant mistakes such as the scrapping of our Zero Carbon Homes law
and our CCS projects. We had hoped your plan would be a turning point, but instead it is deeply
disappointing and a massive missed opportunity. We urge you to revise the scale of your ambitions
Your investment programme of £12 billion is totally inadequate. Set against what other developed
countries are investing, the scale of the opportunity and what you claim to want to achieve, it is
simply not credible. Even on basic programmes, such as energy efficiency and insulation, the
extension of the Green Homes Grant by just one year lacks any long-term thinking, when any serious
expert recognises that industry, firms and business need much greater certainty if they are going to
invest in skills and equipment. We all know decarbonising heat is challenging, so surely it makes
sense to do far more on reducing the nation's heat demand and thereby also tackling fuel poverty?
On power, it is welcome that your Conservative Government appears to have been converted to
offshore wind, but again the detailed policies to make this growth happen are sadly lacking, whilst
there is little serious commitment to other renewable electricity options, including onshore wind,
solar and tidal. Moreover, the scale of ambition and commitment to technologies that support a
radically deeper penetration of renewables, including interconnectors, battery storage, smart grid,
demand side response and pumped hydro, is sadly lacking. Instead, despite the evidence from
Hinkley Point C, which we know well, that nuclear power has not come down in price and remains
very expensive once its true costs and risks are properly accounted for, you have opted to expose
consumers and taxpayers to these much higher costs.
On transport, your plans for zero carbon vehicles falls far short of what is needed - both to support
the supply-side and really help the UK automotive sector to become a world leader, and to support
the demand-side, and provide the different incentives to consumers that will be needed. In the
aerospace industry, which is crying out for a future-focused strategy, your programme lacks any
serious targets or direction to deliver zero carbon flight domestically and even on short haul within
the timescale of the climate emergency and our economy demands.
It is good that some action is at last being taken on promoting hydrogen and reversing the shocking
lack of support for CCUS in recent years. However, once again, in comparison to other countries and
the scale of what is needed, the proposals seem shockingly weak. These two technologies are likely
to prove crucial both for decarbonisation and for minimising the economic challenges as Britain's oil
and gas industry transitions, and are both sectors the UK could be a world leader in. However, it
looks as if the scale of the opportunity may be sadly missed.
There is another way. The Liberal Democrats have detailed plans for a Green Economic Recovery
Our proposals are a bold and strategic bid to fast-track the UK to net-zero and to provide the jobs
people need and deliver the technology our economy needs We want to see a £150 billion public
investment programme to fire-up progress to UK net-zero over the next three years, and to help
British people and businesses to become global leaders in the technologies of the future. It is good
that the Treasury is at last addressing policies to help private capital markets play a bigger role in
financing a green recovery and the climate transition, yet once again, the scale of the ambition does
not meet the need or the opportunity.
With the UK hosting the COP26 global climate talks next year, and with the international opportunity
presented by the victory of President-Elect Joe Biden, now surely is the moment for the UK to show
true leadership in tackling the climate emergency.
The UK must aspire to lead the world again. Our plan presents a far more optimistic vision of new
climate economics, where people, businesses and communities across the UK can dare to hope
again. We would be happy to share it with you and explain why you now need to make the tough
decisions to secure Britain's green economic recovery.
Yours sincerely,
Rt Hon Sir Ed Davey MP - Liberal Democrat Leader and former Secretary of State for Energy and
Climate Change
Sarah Olney MP - Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency
Lord Oates - Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency (Lords)
Jürgen Maier - Chair of the Liberal Democrat Business and Economic Council and former Chief
Executive of Siemens UK