My Labour Party colleagues and I have consistently supported the inclusion of a clear target to decarbonise Britain’s power sector by 2030. Ed Miliband, who as Energy Secretary in the last Labour Government passed the Climate Change Act, was the first and only leader of a British political party to commit to decarbonising the power sector.
Labour believes that a 2030 target would send out a clear signal to investors by showing that we are committed to reducing emissions in the power sector, which would act as a strong incentive to invest in the UK, bringing new jobs and industries in clean energy. And we are not alone in this – last year over fifty businesses, investors, industry bodies, trade unions and environmental groups wrote to the Chancellor calling for a 2030 target to be set.
Labour has repeatedly tried to insert a 2030 decarbonisation target in the Government’s Energy Bill. Most recently on June 4th I and my Labour colleagues supported a Labour amendment to do that. Although we reduced the Government’s majority to just 23 once again Tory and Lib Dem MPs combined to defeat the amendment – even though the 2030 target is supposed to be official Lib Dem policy.
On the very same day representatives of the renewable energy sectors from South West England were in Parliament lobbying the region’s MPs to support a renewable manifesto for the South West produced by Regen SW (Link to the manifesto). Shortly after turning up to support the launch Westcountry Conservative and Lib Dem MPs were filing through the Commons’ division lobbies voting against the 2030 target (you can find out how your MP voted here).
The Government’s failure to support the green economy has already seen billions of pounds of investment going elsewhere or being put on hold. The Government’s indecision and lack of ambition has meant that investment in renewable energy has fallen by more than half since the 2010 General Election. That means the UK and the Westcountry in particular is losing out on this huge opportunity to create jobs, growth and a reliable energy future supply. David Cameron’s once promised to lead the “greenest government ever”. That feels like a hollow joke now and his coalition partners have been complicit in that betrayal.