Wind subsidy cuts are being limited to ten per cent but ‘decarbonisation’ by 2030 will not take place under the coalition’s plans, it has been confirmed.
Neither environmental campaigners nor the fossil fuel industry are likely to be happy after warring ministers clashed over their climate change plans.
Liberal Democrat energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey managed to secure wind subsidy cuts of just ten per cent, significantly less than the 25% being sought by some Conservative MPs.
In return, following pressure from the Treasury, the government continues to see natural gas as a part of Britain’s energy mix after 2030 – the date when it had been hoped carbon emissions would effectively reach zero.
“The critical thing is we need to reduce our carbon emissions,” Ed Davey told the Today programme.
“There is cross-government agreement that we need to do that… what we’re arguing about is how we do that.”
In what is being viewed as a significant concession by Lib Dems, the Treasury has insisted that British consumers should be able to benefit if gas prices fall globally.
“Longer term after 2030 gas can continue to play an important role when combined with carbon capture and storage technology,” Davey wrote in an article for the ConservativeHome website.
Environmentalist campaigners have reacted with dismay to disputes within the coalition, which David Cameron had predicted would be the “greenest government ever” after the 2010 general election.
“The government’s climate advisors warn that UK climate targets won’t be met unless our electricity system is almost entirely decarbonised by 2030 – Ed Davey must insist that this target is included in the energy bill when it enters parliament later this year,” Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton said.
“George Osborne’s plans for more gas-fired power stations would be a costly disaster for households, businesses and the environment.”