British Government Response To IPCC: UK Chancellor To Put Brake On Green Energy Taxes
George Osborne tells the environmental lobby today that Britain should not be “in front of the rest of the world” in tackling climate change.
In an interview with The Times, the Chancellor dismissed as a gimmick Ed Miliband’s pledge to freeze energy prices, but he signalled that he could ease green measures if prices continued to rise. “I think we have to keep a very, very close eye on the affordability of energy prices going forward,” he said.
“You have to constantly assess the value for money of your energy policies and obligations,” he said when asked if he would halt green tariffs. Although the Treasury has no current plans to scrap the environmental burden on energy companies, he said that Britain must not price itself out of international markets.
He attacked as “too fast and too dogmatic” the plans supported by Labour all but to eliminate carbon from the power sector by 2030.
A landmark report published yesterday by the climate panel of the United Nations said it was “95 per cent certain” that human beings were the “dominant cause” of global warning. Mr Osborne said it was right to protect the environment and emphasised that “greenery is not a luxury” but said that Britain should resist a “very prescriptive path for green energy”.
He added: “I want to provide for the country the cheapest energy possible, consistent with having it reliable, in other words as a steady supply, and consistent with us playing our part in an international effort to tackle climate change. But I don’t want us to be the only people out there in front of the rest of the world. I certainly think we shouldn’t be further ahead of our partners in Europe.” [...]
Energy companies say that green taxes account for about 10 per cent of an average household bill. Michael Fallon, the Energy Minister, is understood to be looking at reducing the burden of environmental measures on household bills in the next Conservative manifesto. “We are confident we can be green, but a cheaper green,” one source said.
One target is the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO), which requires big energy companies to foot lagging bills for pensioners and benefit claimants. The Government is also said to be considering a moratorium on inland windfarms.