Greg Clark has made his debut at the Dispatch Box as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The Government announced yesterday that it wants an 80 per cent cut in greenhouse gases by 2050. The Conservatives support this new target.
Mr Clark began by offering a warm welcome to his opposite number, Ed Miliband. Then he turned up the heat:
"There has been a decade-long void in the Government’s policy on energy, in which successive Ministers have looked the other way rather than addressing the issue of our future energy needs. Does the Secretary of State accept that to the intrinsic difficulties of making choices on energy have been added the consequences of a decade of indecision?"
Mr Clark stressed the importance of developing new practices and technology rather than simply buying in permits from other countries, called on the Government to fund at least three carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, said that no plant should be licensed if its emissions are worse than those of a modern gas-powered station, endorsed smart metering and urged the Government to tackle fuel poverty.
Personal remark from Tom Greeves:
"I worked with Greg Clark at Conservative Central Office. He is unfailingly courteous and modest, but combines those qualities with a razor-sharp mind that doesn’t tolerate intellectual flabbiness. I am pleased for him personally, and excited that he and his special adviser Peter Franklin have a chance to prove that nice guys can thrive in politics."
But do the Conservatives have the right policies on climate change? Please discuss!