David Cameron has responded to criticism of his government’s green energy policies, describing claims of its ineffectiveness “total and utter nonsense”.
Cameron’s government has come under frequent fire recently for several perceived failures in its policies towards green energy. Subsidy cuts and policy reversals have led many to criticise Cameron and his Energy Secretary Amber Rudd for failing to fully pursue green initiatives, particularly in the wake of the recent COP21 Paris Climate Change Summit at the end of last year.
But the Prime Minister hit back at his critics, telling the Commons Liaison Committee who put the questions to him that during his term(s) as PM, there has been “an absolute revolution in renewable energy.” He pointed to statistics like the fact that 98% of solar energy sources in the country have been installed since 2010, when he first made his pledge to make this government the “greenest…ever.”
He also argued that “we are more than meeting the targets” set in the annual carbon budget by the Committee for Climate Change, the government’s advisory body on the Climate Change Act.
However, back in November, a letter was leaked in which Amber Rudd claimed that with the way things are currently going, “. The letter stated that “publicly we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target”, leading to accusations of deception.
Over the last year, several green initiatives have been scrapped by the government, with justification mainly based around economic requirements and the need to prioritise immediate energy security over long term reliance on renewables.
One the most controversial moves came when Cameron decided to scrap the Carbon Capture and Storage competition, which involved £1 billion being invested in an effort to create technology on a commercial scale that would capture and store the C02 emissions from fossil fuel based plants. The CCS competition formed part of the Conservative party’s election manifesto and as such its cancellation has drawn a lot of criticism.
Cameron claimed, at the time, that CCS should be considered “absolutely crucial if we are going to decarbonise effectively” and the US energy secretary claimed that “carbon capute is critical for climate change. And it’s working.”
Now, in an attempt to justify the cancellation of the project, Cameron simply argued that “the economics are not working at the moment.”
The Prime Minister’s claims that the belief that his government’s failures on green policy represent “backsliding” have been met with predictable resistance from those who criticised him in the first place.
Friends of the Earth’s Craig Bennett argued that “if dismantling a dozen green policies and putting 19,000 solar workers on notice isn’t ‘backsliding on green commitments’, I don’t know what is.”
Cameron also came under fire for his cutting of spending on flood defences back in 2010, particularly with the devastation that floods have cause in areas of the country, not just this year, but back in 2013 as well.
He admitted here that “there is no doubt we need to do more” but maintained that the devastating events recently were unforeseeable. He said: “We’ve seen what are called 1-in-100 year events, or 1-in-200 year events, and they happened in 2007, 2013, 2015, and the country wants us to do more, and we will do more.”