UK 'dash for gas' will cost the Earth, say Greens
Green Party: Dash For Gas Will Cost The Earth
PLANS to spark a UK ‘dash for gas’ are ‘utterly wrong’ and will hit the poorest families in the UK in the pocket, the Green Party warns.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is insisting that his government’s Energy Bill 2012 should include plans to burn more gas to produce energy – even though advisors estimate this will cost £23bn per year more than the current system.
The alternative – to decarbonise electricity production by 2030 using onshore and offshore wind power – would save the UK £1.3bn per year.
The gas plans have been criticised in an open letter to the government from its own independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, which is led by Conservative Peer Lord Deben.
The document criticised the Government’s: ‘ambivalent position... about whether it is trying to build a low-carbon or a gas-based power system.’
It also featured evidence from energy research consultants Redpoint Energy which showed that gas burning would be a far more expensive option.
And Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is clear that extra cost will fall on the consumer.
She said: ‘If costs increase, we know from experience production companies will pass them straight on to their consumers by increasing electricity bills.
‘We are in an economy in which wages are falling every day in real terms and plans which would increase energy bills would force people to choose between buying food and paying to heat their homes properly.
‘This is an utterly wrong decision.’
Increased gas burning will also see carbon emissions increase, forcing the UK to break laws set by its own Climate Change Act.
The Act requires carbon emissions to be cut by 80 per cent by 2050, which Redpoint’s research says can be achieved if the system is decarbonised, but is impossible if energy production relies on more gas burning.
Redpoint suggests Mr Osborne’s model would produce 90g more carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour of energy than the decarbonised alternative.
Ms Bennett said: ‘We already know that we have to move much faster than the Climate Change Act suggests if we are to reduce environmental damage. But this measure would see us move slower. In financial and environmental terms, it is the wrong policy.’
******* CLIMATE ADVISOR WARNING OVER DASH FOR GAS – FRIENDS OF THE EARTH REACTION
Welcoming today’s letter to the Government from the Committee on Climate Change warning about the impact of current energy policy on UK climate targets, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said:
“This is a very stark warning the Government cannot ignore: an unabated dash for gas is incompatible with tackling climate change and threatens the UK's growing green economy, which already employs almost one million people.
“The Energy Bill must contain a clear target to decarbonise the UK’s electricity system by 2030, to give one of the few growth areas of our economy a massive boost and reaffirm the Government’s commitment to tackling climate change.
“Investing in clean British energy from the wind, waves and sun will reduce the nation’s dependence on increasingly expensive gas and create tens of thousands more jobs.”
1. CCC letter to Ed Davey: The need for a carbon intensity target in the power sector: http://hmccc.s3.amazonaws.com/EMR%20letter%20-%20September%2012.pdf
2. Lord Deben was officially appointed as the new chair of the Chair of Committee on Climate Change earlier this week- DECC press release: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn12_101/pn12_101.aspx
3. The Committee on Climate Change was set up by the Climate Change Act 2008: legislation that Friends of the Earth lead the campaign for through The Big Ask.
4. Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign, backed by Deborah Meaden, is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal – causing our fuel bills to rocket. Now 85% of the public would back new Government legislation to make power companies generate more of our electricity from home-grown renewable energy. This, and cutting energy waste, will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To find out more and back the campaign, visit www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk
5. For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. Be a Friend of the Earth – see things differently.