Thursday, 28 August 2008

Another outrage from the Business Secretary

If ever you needed convincing that the battle against climate change is being undermined by 'departmentalitis', you need look no further than today's interview in the Telegraph by energy secretary John Hutton. In a nutshell, he says that his job is to guarantee energy security and if that means that climate change has to take second place then so be it! For example, he says:

"Of course we've got to tackle climate change, it's a real and present danger for used, but we've also got to be absolutely clear that our energy policy has got to be figured first and foremost with a view to supplying Britain with affordable and secure energy it needs for the future.

That is why we cannot turn our back on any proven form of technology. We cannot afford to say no to new coal, new gas or new nuclear."

So new coal-fired power stations with huge emissions are fine, as long as they contribute to energy security?

The biggest problem in the battle against climate change is that the Environment department doesn't make the big decisions that affect our CO2 emissions - whether its energy, transport, housebuilding standards or green taxation - they are all someone else'e job. Whether Labour or the Tories were in power, DEFRA would always be a marginal department - an afterthought. It's vital that responsibility for tackling climate change was central to what every department does and is headed up from the top - by the Prime Minister.

The trouble is, Brown doesn't do Green.