The Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben has called upon the government to take urgent action to fill a policy gap created by clean energy cuts and sought clarification on where the government’s green policy is headed.
In a letter addressed to energy secretary Amber Rudd today, Lord Deben has claimed that a raft of cuts to clean energy programmes conducted by the Conservative government since May has been interpreted as a backwards step in attempts to meet carbon budget commitments and raised uncertainty over the government’s future direction.
Lord Deben said that while it was understandable that the government would want to pursue cost-effective policies and bring spending under control, he had to conclude that the recent changes failed to address a need to keep emission reductions on track.
“The uncertainty created by changes to existing policies and a lack of replacement policies up to and after 2020 could well lead to stop-start investment, higher costs and a risk that targets to reduce emissions will be missed,” his letter stated.
The CCC has suggested that his could be avoided with increased visibility of the future market for low-carbon power by establishing a “well-specified” Levy Control Framework with appropriate funding out to 2025, with a 10-year rolling window which would provide investment certainty.
The letter also raised how important it was to recognise that new clean energy technologies are “often competing against incumbents who do not pay their full cost” and that innovative technologies often require public support throughout all stages of their development. “It is essential therefore that funding is not withdrawn too early,” Lord Deben said.
Recommendations attached to the letter include guidance on how pricing signals could support a shift towards lower emission vehicles in the UK, particularly in Vehicle Excise Duty, but called for a detailed action plan to deliver low-carbon heat support as well as the future of the renewable heat incentive and energy company obligation to be set out as soon as possible.
Lord Deben concluded the letter by calling upon the government to announce replacement policies “as early as possible”, and said it was advisable to include plans for both up to 2020 and beyond.