Will the Energy Bill support the UK to cut carbon emissions or open the door to a fossil-fuelled 'dash for gas'? Later in March, MPs will have the chance to vote on an amendment which would keep the UK within its legally binding climate change targets. The government would have to set a limit on CO2 emissions from electricity by 2030 in line with the recommendations of the independent Committee on Climate Change.
Why is it important?
With the climate changing, we have no time to lose in putting the brake on our CO2 emissions. This target would give certainty to investors in the UK to start the shift to clean energy. The alternative is to lock in reliance on expensive gas for the UK's energy, smashing our climate targets.
Who supports it?
The list of organisations supporting a 2030 decarbonisation target is impressive. Because it makes economic as well as environmental sense, it includes many businesses - not all known for their tree-hugging tendencies, four of the Big Six energy companies are among them! Infographic
George Osborne originally blocked the target from the Energy Bill. Two of the Big Six energy companies have come out against it, Centrica and RWE/npower.
Lib Dem party members have voted to support a 2030 decarbonisation target, but in order to get the Bill into Parliament, energy minister Ed Davey struck a deal with George Osborne and took the target out. Some Conservative backbenchers, as well as Lib Dems, are potentially willing to rebel, but they need to feel the strength of the public's support.
Thousands of people have already written to their MP to ask them to support clean energy and say no to Osborne's 'dash for gas' - in particular to support an amendment to the Energy Bill that would limit carbon emissions from our electricity sector.
We're asking our supporters to take 10 minutes to write something a bit more detailed, in their own words. You can use an online tool - Friends of the Earth or Greenpeace, or find your MP's email and postal address here: http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/
Remember if you've written to your MP already and received an answer, then there's nothing to stop you replying to them again - either to challenge them or thank them for their commitment.
Suggested points you can make:
The Committee on Climate Change are responsible for advising the Government on how the legally binding emissions reductions targets can be met. They have stated the carbon emissions from electricity generation will need to be cut to 50gCO2/kWh by 2030:
- If these reductions are not achieved, either greater cuts will be needed elsewhere or the Climate Act will simply have been abandoned.
- The Department for Energy and Climate Change have not provided any convincing explanation of how these cuts elsewhere would be made, nor how the emissions from power generation could be cut rapidly after 2030.
Stress the urgency of the climate crisis
- Clear indicators of a destabilised climate are appearing sooner than even climate scientists expected (for example the rapidly melting Arctic),
- On current trends, global average temperatures are predicted to rise 4C above pre-industrial levels within this century
- Now is no time to backtrack on the Climate Act
Failing on a decarbonisation target would further damage the economy.
- Businesses have been lining up to support a 2030 decarbonisation target on the face of the Energy Bill. They crave the security that this would bring.
- While the UK economy has been struggling, the 'green economy' is the only sector which has been growing.
- Leaving a decision on a 2030 target until 2016 as the Government is proposing is not just dangerous for the climate, it also puts Britain at a disadvantage, with renewables investment and desperately needed jobs likely to go elsewhere.
(If your MP is a Lib Dem)
- At their 2012 party conference, Lib Dem party members voted overwhelmingly for a 2030 decarbonisation target. Lib Dem MPs have a clear responsibility to uphold this.
Ask your MP to support a decarbonisation target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030, and to add their name to the amendment tabled by MPs Tim Yeo and Barry Gardiner for a 2030 decarbonisation target.
You could include any of these in support:
Additional measures to support clean energy in the UK (especially if your MP is supportive of the 2030 target amendment)
James Murray of the Business Green website debunks every argument against a 2030 target
Watch this space for more actions to support!