David Cameron: “I’m Certainly Not More Lawsonian”
[....] By putting energy prices at the heart of the political debate, [Britain's opposition leader Ed] Miliband has raised a series of interconnected issues. [UK chancellor George] Osborne is known to have been increasingly impressed by the former chancellor Lord Lawson’s more sceptical view of the orthodoxy on global warming – an orthodoxy reaffirmed last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I ask Cameron if he, too, has shifted his ground on greenery.
“I’m certainly not more Lawsonian. It’s worth looking at what this report this week says – that [there is a] 95 per cent certainty that human activity is altering the climate. I think I said this almost 10 years ago: if someone came to you and said there is a 95 per cent chance that your house might burn down, even if you are in the 5 per cent that doesn’t agree with it, you still take out the insurance, just in case.”
The question, to stick with the PM’s metaphor, is how high a premium to pay for this security. Again, Osborne has signalled his concerns about green taxes and subsidies – a cause of serious friction with Clegg, who privately fears that the Tories were never truly committed to greenery. So Cameron chooses his words with care.
“What we’ve done in energy is try to make sure there is a balance of different technologies to give us a balanced energy supply. We do need some of these new renewable technologies and that’s why there are subsidies, but we shouldn’t have those for a second longer than they’re necessary.”
On wind farms – seen by many as an expensive blight on the countryside, subsidised by the taxpayer to burnish the image of politicians who live nowhere near them – the PM is equally diplomatic. “Recently, I opened the London Array, the biggest offshore wind farm anywhere in the world, and it’s good that Britain is leading the way in this technology. But as I say, you shouldn’t keep the subsidies for any longer than is necessary.” The young Tory leader who wore recycled trainers has come a long way.