Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: Chris Huhne

Chris Huhne (1,2) is the new Department for Energy and Climate Change head.

8th of May 2007 (url)

Chris Huhne proposes several climate change policies:

  1. That this House calls on the Government to set targets for carbon emissions informed by science and not political convenience which will help to hold global warming to within two degrees of pre-industrial levels; recognises that the best current estimate is that this requires stabilisation at between 400 and 450 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent in the atmosphere.

  2. and urges Ministers to inject a new sense of urgency into efforts at home by setting out an annual action plan to curb the UK’s own carbon emissions, establishing a climate change committee of the Cabinet to ensure joined up government,

  3. tackling quickly the most rapidly growing emissions in the transport sector by a more steeply graduated vehicle excise duty and a rebasing of air passenger duty onto the emissions of each flight, offset by other tax cuts,

  4. speeding up the effort to curb the waste of energy and the high emissions from buildings not just by raising thermal efficiency requirements in new homes but also by renovating existing homes, changing the incentives on energy companies so that they make more money by saving and not selling more energy, providing comprehensive insulation packages funded mainly by energy mortgages repayable through utility bills and

  5. setting an example by ensuring that all future buildings on the Government’s own estate are built to the highest energy efficiency standards.

Chris Huhne arguing with Shadow Environment Secretary Gregory Barker

Chris Huhne: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Gregory Barker: It was a great shame that the hon. Gentleman tore up the cross-party agreement that was so meticulously put together by the hon. Member for East Surrey (Mr. Ainsworth) and the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker), and I hope that when he intervenes, he will confirm that he will be more constructive in his politics in future.

Chris Huhne: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for finally giving way. He will know very well that when we suspended our participation in our agreement with the Conservative party it was because the Conservatives were unwilling to bring forward any specific policies whatever on the subject, and that continues to be the case. Before he gives us any lectures about following in his wake, or about the efforts of the right hon. Member for Witney (Mr. Cameron), he should be aware that the latter’s local authority, West Oxfordshire, has just cut its recycling budget. That will have an effect on global warming, through the effects on landfill and methane. When the right hon. Member for Witney is able to show that he has some influence over his own—

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. Gentleman knows that interventions
must be brief.

Gregory Barker: We have had 25 minutes of listening to the dirge of the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Chris Huhne); that is quite enough, and I do not intend to take many more interventions from him. It is a shame that he could not be a little more constructive. Obviously, the new politics of climate change have yet to infect the Liberal Democrats.

The Liberal Democrat motion contains many good ideas, several of which have been championed by Conservative Members, but the motion is nevertheless uncosted, broad-brush and loosely worded, which is fine for a party facing perpetual opposition, but somewhat more problematic for a party clearly focused on forming the next

Chris Huhne Supported EDM 592, it would be nice to see him act on that now that he is in power.

That this House believes that it is vitally important to involve, rather than simply
instruct, people and communities and local authorities in efforts to combat
climate change; notes that the Sustainable Energy (Local Action) Bill,
introduced by a cross-party group of hon. Members, will set in motion that
process by giving councils and citizens a co-operative role in drawing up and
implementing sustainable energy plans whose objectives would be to help combat
climate change, protect energy security and alleviate fuel poverty; further
notes that the bottom-up mechanisms in the Bill are based on those in the
Sustainable Communities Act 2007, which was warmly supported on all sides of the
House; and therefore supports the measures in the Bill and hopes they will be
enacted soon.
Chris Huhne worked with Labour MP's to try and introduce sectoral climate change targets. Nice idea, will he try again?

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