We have high hopes for Greg Clark MP, the new Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. We don’t expect him to be as cautious about climate change as we are, but we hope that he’ll ask very tough questions of those who insist that their way of tackling climate change is the only way. He could start with the EU. Open Europe’s Hugo Robinson writes for ConHome today about the inflexibility of the Brussels’ climate change plan and how it might be bad for the environment and disastrous for the economy. If there is to be an international agreement on climate change – beyond the EU and involving India and China – Greg Clark should be urging a rethink of the EU model.
More importantly – as far as we are concerned – is the need to keep the lights on. Matt Sinclair put it well on CentreRight:
"The reason why Ministers love working on climate change is that the outcomes are all decades and centuries in the future so there is no real accountability. By contrast, people will notice if the lights go out. While politicians can try and blame the energy companies, or hope they’re in a different job by the time poor choices lead to economic disaster, there is a much greater chance that the public will notice when political leaders let them down in energy policy than with climate change."
The Tories had been dragging their feet on energy policy although latterly have been making more positive noises about nuclear energy and clean coal. Greg Clark needs to demonstrate that the Tories have a plan to address the looming crisis in British energy supply. The insecurity of Britain’s energy supply – and the associated expense to business and consumers – is set to be a top-of-the-news issue in five years’ time. Greg Clark is as clever and courteous as Michael Gove. He now needs to prove that he is as courageous. We hope Greg will be to energy policy what Michael Gove has been to education policy.
> Step 4/10: Put Eric Pickles in CCHQ