Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Cameron cuts the green crap

If clear evidence was needed that the slogan "the greenest government ever" was no more than rhetoric to keep his coalition partners onside, and that the more recent report of David Cameron's remark to a supporter that once the Liberal Democrats were off his back, he would "cut the green crap" was credible, it came in the "emergency" budget in the summer. CAT's Clean Slate magazine of autumn this year has an article by Martin Kemp which draws together all the Conservatives' moves to set back the cause of sustainability.

In reading Clean Slate's side-bar (reproduced on the right) it should be noted that Labour's First Minister in Wales anticipated Cameron and Osborne by cancelling the Technical Advice Note on sustainable building. The subsidy for onshore wind need not be mourned, since the break-even point for this form of renewable energy has been, or will shortly be, reached.

To me, the most iniquitous move is to reduce the climate change levy to a simple undirected tax. Martin Kemp explains that the levy was

charged to fossil fuel producers owing to their carbon emissions. Renewable energy sources [got] a 'levy exemption'. This exemption [was removed from 1st August]. In other words, the renewables industry now has to pay for carbon produced by the rest of the energy industry.

The levy bears on industries such as steel production and acts regressively on lower-income households. If it no longer serves its original purpose, it should be scrapped.

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