Environmental campaigners are disappointed by Jason McCartney’s response to lobbying on the Energy Bill but are hoping that as the debate progresses in Parliament he will support amendments that give a clear target for green electricity.
On Saturday 24th November a number of individuals from the ColneValley constituency met with Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney to lobby him on the Energy Bill.
The ‘lobby ask’ was that the Energy Bill should include a target for decarbonising the electricity supply by 2030 and that Jason McCartney, like some other Conservative MPs should come out in support of the target.
The target for decarbonising electricity by 2030 has been recommended by the Committee on Climate Change who say that that it is easier and less expensive to decarbonise the electricity supply than other sectors and that it is unlikely we’ll achieve our target for reducing emissions by 2050 without doing this.
Tim Padmore from Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change says, “We stressed the economic case for having a clear target on green electricity. Green business accounted for 1/3 of UK growth in 2011 but the industry needs a clear commitment for support from government for them to make the investments that we need. That’s why the CBI is calling for the 2030 target.”
“There has been a lot of talk about the costs of investing in green technology being passed on to the consumer. This is misleading: the costs of renewable technologies are expected to fall over the next fifteen years while wholesale gas prices are expected to rise.”
“Additionally, the government’s own figures suggest large savings in the average bill due to improved energy efficiency measures- which will virtually balance out any additional costs due to green investment.”
Campaigners paid tribute to Jason McCartney for asking a question about the 2030 target in the first reading of the Energy Bill on 29th November. He asked Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey how the UK could reach its target of 80% cuts in carbon emissions by 2050 if it has not decarbonised the electricity supply by 2030.
However, Jason McCartney has so far not supported the 2030 target, unlike other politicians such as the Conservative Chair of the Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, Tim Yeo, the Labour Party and the Lib Dems.
In a response to Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change, Jason McCartney supported the government’s current position saying, “I’m pleased that the new Energy Bill will put a fair price on carbon, providing a stronger incentive to invest in low carbon generation now. As part of this Bill, powers to set a decarbonisation target range for 2030 will be brought forward in secondary legislation. As you know a decision on this will only be taken once the Climate Change Committee has provided advice in 2016 on the 5th Carbon Budget which covers the corresponding period.”
The Chair of the Commons Select Committee Tim Yeo has said that he intends to table amendments to the Energy Bill to include a clear target for decarbonising the electricity supply by 2030.
Giving some hope to campaigners, Jason McCartney said, “I firmly believe the government is doing a lot of good things in the Energy Bill so I’m keen to support the progress made but also keep up the pressure to provide sustainable, clean but affordable energy for our nation’s citizens and businesses”.
He said later, “I may well support Tim Yeo given the opportunity as the Energy Bill progresses but need to listen to the implications and costs for household bills.”
Iain Solanki-Willats from Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change says, “At the moment, Jason McCartney is giving mixed messages. If we’re being pessimistic, this may be because he plans to support the government position.”
“If we’re being optimistic, it may be because he plans to see how the debate about the Energy Bill develops further.”
“Either way, Jason McCartney’s failure at this stage (and it’s now six weeks since the lobby) clearly and openly to join the existing cross-party push for the decarbonisation of electricity by 2030 is disappointing and raises questions -at least for the moment- about his understanding of, and commitment to climate change issues. He may provide answers to those questions in due course, but for the moment, they remain.”
“We encourage Jason McCartney’s constituents to keep reminding him of the need for a strong Energy Bill and we will be keeping them informed of his voting record”.