UK Prime Minister David Cameron has come under heavy criticism for his “defense” of his government’s green policies.
Speaking before the Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday, David Cameron declared that claims that his government is “backsliding” are “utter nonsense.”
In response, Friends of the Earth CEO Craig Bennett put it best:
“If dismantling a dozen green policies and putting 19,000 solar workers on notice isn’t “backsliding on green commitments,” I don’t know what is.
“Cutting solar, banning onshore wind and privatizing the Green Investment Bank, while letting frackers loose on our national parks, are not the actions of a government committed to meaningful climate action.”
Despite Prime Minister Cameron’s objections, a review of the United Kingdom’s green policies and actions taken throughout 2015 clearly show them taking a massive backward step. Despite objections to the contrary from David Cameron and his newly-appointed Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd, the UK has diminished the importance of some renewable energies — onshore wind and solar at the top of that list — in favor of natural gas, all under the guise of reducing “energy bills for hard working British families and businesses” by cutting renewable energy subsidies, while leaving intact billions of pounds worth of fossil fuel subsidies.
A poor showing at the Paris UN climate negotiations in December has led to harsher criticism for the UK Government, leading to David Cameron’s appearance before the Liaison Committee on Tuesday.
Prior to his appearance, a number of UK trade bodies and environmental organizations called on the Government to acknowledge its backsliding. Friends of the Earth UK said that “David Cameron must spell out how his Government is going to play its part in international efforts to tackle climate change.” Speaking before David Cameron’s Committee appearance, Friends of the Earth’s Craig Bennett reminded people that despite David Cameron’s “vow to ‘unleash a new solar revolution’ last year, ministers have slashed support for rooftop solar power and put tens of thousands of jobs in jeopardy.”
“Ministers have also pulled the plug on schemes to make our homes more energy efficient, condemning tens of thousands of people to shiver in heat-leaking homes,” Mr Bennett continued. “With the UK increasingly being battered by floods and extreme weather, and climate change expected to make things worse, tougher action is needed to cut UK emissions.”
Adding to the negative reaction to David Cameron’s protestations, WWF-UK’s Head of Climate and Energy Emma Pinchbeck said “The Prime Minister knows that his government must radically change direction on energy policy if we are to live up to our Paris commitments. The commitment to coal phase-out was welcome, but taking the wind out of wind, canning carbon capture and storage, and dimming the lights on new renewables are a recipe for economic disaster. The actions of previous Governments have allowed the Prime Minister to tell the Committee that the UK is progressing decarbonization with greenhouse gases falling 8% this year. However, this Government’s short-term strategies mean that the next Prime Ministers and future generations will be faced with a massive short-fall in our climate change ambition.
Image Credit: Prime Minister David Cameron via Number 10, Flickr
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