The new coalition government in the U.K. has made public its list of environmental policies, and it reads like a national charter for economic suicide (for the full agreement, see below). The Rt. Hon. Chris Huhne MP, a Liberal Democrat on the left of that party, has been made Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (a misleading title insofar as it is quite clear that the order of priority is the reverse of that). Mr. Huhne has been an environmental activist for many years and is therefore unlikely to listen to voices telling him that the lights will go out and energy prices rise if he implements these policies fully.
Meanwhile, the new government’s hostility to air travel is obvious, something that Britain’s tourist industry will no doubt be dismayed by. The Taxpayers’ Alliance, one of many groups in Britain that understands the implications of these policies, has issued an initial reaction that would be devastating if anyone in the new government was willing to read it. Unfortunately, the environment section is such a cornerstone of the coalition agreement that it will likely be clung to as long as the coalition has life.
The coalition agreement in full below the fold.
* The establishment of a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters.
* The full establishment of feed-in tariff systems in electricity – as well as the maintenance of banded ROCs (incentives for large-scale, commercial renewable energy systems).
* Measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion.
* The creation of a green investment bank.
* The provision of home energy improvement paid for by the savings from lower energy bills.
* Retention of energy performance certificates while scrapping HIPs [Home Information Packs – an onerous regulation requiring all homeowners selling a property to produce extensive documentation about the energy performance and other aspects of the home].
* Measures to encourage marine energy.
* The establishment of an emissions performance standard that will prevent coal-fired power stations being built unless they are equipped with sufficient CCS to meet the emissions performance standard.
* The establishment of a high-speed rail network.
* The cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow.
* The refusal of additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted.
* The replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty.
* The provision of a floor price for carbon, as well as efforts to persuade the EU to move towards full auctioning of ETS permits.
* Measures to make the import or possession of illegal timber a criminal offence.
* Measures to promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity.
* Mandating a national recharging network for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
* Continuation of the former Government’s proposals for public sector investment in CCS technology for four coal-fired power stations; and a specific commitment to reduce central government carbon emissions by 10 per cent within 12 months.
* We are agreed that we would seek to increase the target for energy from renewable sources, subject to the advice of the Climate Change Committee.
* Liberal Democrats have long opposed any new nuclear construction. Conservatives, by contrast, are committed to allowing the replacement of existing nuclear power stations provided they are subject to the normal planning process for major projects (under a new national planning statement) and provided also that they receive no public subsidy.
* We have agreed a process that will allow Liberal Democrats to maintain their opposition to nuclear power while permitting the government to bring forward the national planning statement for ratification by Parliament so that new nuclear construction becomes possible.