Lib Dems, Labor call for decarbonization

Sept. 26, 2012 at 7:03 AM
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BRIGHTON, England, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Political opponents this week increased pressure on Britain's Conservative-led government to commit to a decarbonization of the energy sector by 2030.

The government coalition partner Liberal Democrats, meeting Brighton, England, during the weekend, passed a resolution urging the inclusion a decarbonization target in the country's forthcoming Energy Bill.

And Labor Party opposition leader Ed Miliband, a former minister for energy and climate change, Monday endorsed the decarbonization goal, saying he would build a coalition of business leaders, politicians, trade unions, investors and others to make it happen.

The Liberal Democrats, whose Ed Davey is Britain's energy secretary, adopted a resolution calling on the government give "certainty and confidence among businesses to invest in renewable energy" in part by including strict greenhouse gas reduction targets by 2030 in the Energy Bill, the British energy analysts ICIS Heren reported.

The levels they are seeking mirror those recommended last year by the independent governmental Committee on Climate Change -- 50 grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour for electric power production, which is 1/10th of the current average of 500g/Kwh.

Davey's initial draft of the bill didn't include the long-term decarbonization goal after it was met with objections from British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne in July, multiple reports indicated.

Sources said Conservative Party leaders nixed attempts to institute any tough climate targets beyond 2020 as being too harmful for business as well as too onerous for electricity ratepayers.

At the conference, Davey confirmed in a keynote address that he, too, would like to see a 2030 decarbonization target in the pending legislation, declaring there was a "strong case for a carbon limit for Britain's energy grid for 2030."

Davey's speech came after an interview with The Observer in which he said a "Tea Party tendency" of denying climate change among some Tory members of Parliament was scaring away billions of dollars in potential alternative energy investments.

"If there is not seen to be that consensus investors are going to balk," he said. "When you hear all that noise on the right of politics that worries investors. They think, 'Well if I am going to put all this money in -- it is a 30-year investment -- I need to know that if the government changes we are not going to have some right-wing Tea Party tendency taking over.'"

Miliband, meanwhile, also called for the inclusion of a decarbonization goal in the Energy Bill, in part to lessen the "perceived risk for investors.

"To attract the investment we need, governments must cover that risk and commit to a clear goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2030, as the independent Committee on Climate Change has recommended," he wrote in the Green Alliance's journal Inside Track.

"At a time when the British economy is desperately in search of new sources of growth, the potential for a green industrial revolution is huge," he added. "This is the time to stand proud and declare that we want lead the world in the low carbon, resource efficient technologies of the future."

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