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The Greenest Government Ever

Chris Hurcombe
by Chris Hurcombe March 21, 2012
The Greenest Government Ever?

While the Coalition Government claims to be the “greenest government ever” public opinion says otherwise. A recent poll conducted by YouGov which was commissioned by Greenpeace revealed that only 2% of the British public believes that David Cameron has been successful in his pledge to lead the “greenest government ever“.

One of the first promises the prime minister made after he was elected was to “care passionately for the green agenda”. While visiting the Department of Energy and Climate Change just three days after he took office, Cameron said that “there is a fourth minister in this department who cares passionately about this agenda and that is me, the prime minister, right. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”

But cuts to renewable energy subsidies, rumours that restrictions on environmental pollution are about to be removed under the government’s “red tape challenge” and high EPS (Emissions Performance Standard) for the new generation of gas-fired power plants are prove that the coalition government is not so “passionate” about the green agenda as it claims to be.

YouGov Greenpeace poll results

The Poll asked: In May 2010 Prime Minister David Cameron said that he wanted the coalition to be “the greenest government ever.” Thinking about the coalition government so far, in terms of their policies on the environment, do you think that…

  • The government is the greenest ever: 2%
  • The government is greener than most other governments have been: 10%
  • The government is about average: 53%
  • The government is one of the least green governments ever: 7%
  • The government is less green than most other governments have been: 9%
  • Don’t Know: 18%

Ruth Davis, Greenpeace’s chief policy adviser, said: “The British public are actually very discerning and can’t be duped by catchphrases or husky-hugging.

They can tell the difference between PR puff and actual deeds and in this poll they have given their damning verdict. However, it’s not too late for David Cameron to turn this around and leave an environmental legacy he can be proud of.

He can start by reigning in his chancellor who seems hell-bent on trashing the environment.

Instead, what the economy needs now is investment in green industries that will deliver jobs, growth and protect the planet.”

The Greenest Government Ever – New Gas Plants and CO2 Emissions

Another government member not living up to his promises is the new energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey who vowed to continue his predecessor’s work by increasing the number of green jobs and to carry through Huhne’s vision of a green economy.

But the measures he announced to be included in the forthcoming Electricity Market Reform legislation don’t reflect that.

Mr Davey wants to maintain the 450 grams per kilowatt-hour level of emissions from such plants until 2045 which according to Greenpeace calculations will lead to Britain missing its climate change targets.

Despite having to rely on this new generation of gas-fire power plants to avoid the electricity power cuts predicted to the end of this decade the government needs to set lower EPS for these new plants in other to meet its climate change targets.

Carbon Capture Storage

The solution to reduce CO2 emissions from gas-fire power plants lays on the development of carbon capture and storage technology but that too seems to be far from reality.

A National Audit Office (NAO) investigation concluded that the UK last valuable years in developing this new technology because of the way in which the competition for the first UK demonstration carbon capture and storage project was run.

Carbon capture and storage is a three-part process that involves capturing the carbon dioxide produced from burning fossil fuels, transporting it to a storage site, and permanently storing it under pressure, usually underground.

Then I ask myself: As the year pass will we have enough space to store all this CO2?

We want to hear it from you know:  Do you think that this government is the greenest ever?

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We really look to forward to hearing your opinion.