Open letter to Jason McCartney MP urges him to back clean energy amendment

Meeting 12 April 2013

Dear Jason McCartney,

One week today – on Tuesday 4th June –  Parliament will vote on amendments to the Energy Bill which could provide a target for virtually carbon-free electricity by 2030.

We hope that you will decide to vote for these amendments.  It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our energy security, create jobs and take a large step towards meeting our 2050 carbon reduction targets.

Last week, on 23rd May, the government’s independent advisors, the Committee on Climate Change released a report ‘Next steps on electricity market reform- securing the benefits of low carbon investment’ (http://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/next-steps-on-electricity-market-reform-23-may-2013/).  The report dispels the notion that clean energy will be more expensive than predominantly gas generated electricity in anything other than the short term.

The Independent’s coverage of the report included the headline ‘Switch to low-carbon future would save households £1, 600’.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/switch-to-lowcarbon-future-would-save-households-1600-8628138.html.

The article states that clean energy costs will become negligible after the immediate future and will provide handsome dividends in the 2030s. Tim Yeo is quoted as saying, “There has clearly been quite a big attempt to portray decarbonisation as a huge burden to the consumer. But this report provides a robust rebuttal to that argument on anything but a short-term basis.”

David Kennedy of the Committee on Climate Change likewise states that, “If MPs are wondering whether to commit to low-carbon energy on the basis that it has significant costs and no benefits, the evidence here shows this is not the case. There is a clear benefit and limited costs.”

The Daily Telegraph’s coverage is under the headline ‘Green energy could save Britain up to £100 billion say Government climate advisors’ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10074226/Green-energy-could-save-Britain-up-to-100-billion-says-Government-climate-advisers.html. It says the report bases the £100 billion figure on the estimated rises in the cost of wholesale gas.

On 2nd June, two days before the vote campaigners will be in Holmfirth raising awareness of the vote and calling on you to support the clean energy amendment. In the style of ‘A Christmas Carol’, we’ll be mourning a gravestone marking the jobs, energy security, affordable energy and carbon cuts that were ‘killed by a dirty energy bill.’ You can read more about this on https://kirkleescampaignagainstclimatechange.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/final-energy-bill-stunt-r-i-p-clean-british-energy-2030-sun-020613-2-15-3-00pm-holmfirth/

Amid this debate about the Energy Bill it is possible to lose sight of the big picture: on 10th May humanity passed the threshold of carbon dioxide levels of 400 parts per million –a higher level than at any time since the Pliocene era 3-5 million years ago.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/10/carbon-dioxide-highest-level-greenhouse-gas

In the Pliocene the arctic was ice free and sea levels were up to 40 metres higher than today. None of the figures that are included in the Committee on Climate Change’s report refer to the other costs – which are the costs of climate change running out of control. We’ve referred in previous communication with you to the World Bank report ‘Turn Down the Heat’ which addresses these matters http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2012/11/18/Climate-change-report-warns-dramatically-warmer-world-this-century

While we recognise that producing zero carbon electricity in the UK is only a tiny part of the solution to this global crisis, it is clear that it is a significant stepping stone on a longer journey for our country and a potential example by a nation with a huge carbon debt to the rest of the world.

We urge you to do the right thing in voting for the clean energy amendments on 4th June. It is your opportunity to ensure that the government stimulates billions of pounds of investment in energy infrastructure. It will create jobs, provide cheaper electricity and improve the UK’s energy security.

Most important of all, however, it will massively reduce the UK’s carbon emissions and help to prevent global carbon dioxide from rising to ever more dangerous levels.

Kind regards

Tim Padmore

Co-ordinator

Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change.

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