The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) has today taken the extraordinary step of writing an open letter to the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, calling for the abolition of the Carbon Trust. This is in direct contravention of the truth – that climate change is, in the words of Lord Stern, “the greatest market failure the world has seen.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) has today taken the extraordinary step of writing an open letter to the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, calling for the abolition of the Carbon Trust.

In its letter, the TPA makes the claim that:

“The Carbon Trust doesn’t address a genuine market failure.”

This is in direct contravention of the truth – that climate change is, in the words of Lord Stern, “the greatest market failure the world has seen.”

The TPA’s attack manages to ignore the fact that much of the Carbon Trust’s funding goes directly to developing innovative low-carbon technologies. This is a vital process which overcomes another major market failure: the reluctance of businesses to invest in far-sighted RD&D in the energy sector, and transferring ideas from the lab into commercial products.

As respected investment analysts Bloomberg New Energy Finance point out in a recent paper,

“traversing… this so-called commercialisation ‘Valley of Death’ – located somewhere between Silicon Valley venture capitalists and Wall Street banks – poses a long-standing challenge to the clean energy sector.”

The Carbon Trust helps bridge this ‘valley of death’ – as a recent report by the independent Committee on Climate Change clearly shows. Unfortunately, the TPA seems not to understand the vital role the Carbon Trust performs here.

Indeed, the public funds put into the Carbon Trust’s grant programmes are in fact an excellent investment, as they encourage businesses to invest more of their own money. The TPA complain that £100m is invested in the Carbon Trust annually, but as they state, “Every year we help to leverage £700 million of private sector investment into projects that support the development of the UK’s low carbon [sector].” In other words, for every £1 put in by the taxpayer, £7 is leveraged from the private sector that would not otherwise have been spent.

What’s more, the Carbon Trust has already seen their funding streams cut earlier this year, when in July the Coalition removed £12.6m from their innovation programme for low-carbon technology enterprises. The Committee on Climate Change has warned that

Current levels of public expenditure for RD&D should be regarded as a minimum, and cuts would be detrimental to the achievement of our climate goals and the new Government’s objective to build a green economy.”

This is not the first time the TPA has singled out an environmental organisation and then lobbied for its abolition. In 2009 it repeatedly called for the abolition of the Sustainable Development Commission – the Government’s watchdog on sustainability – and was duly rewarded when Caroline Spelman announced it would be dissolved in July. Matthew Sinclair boasted it was a “#tpapolicywin” on Twitter.

The TPA appears to have declared war on all public bodies dispensing climate change funding and services – regardless of how effective they are. Their annual review declares they will “continue to campaign for the wasteful 2020 renewables target to be abandoned, and put pressure on politicians to re-think climate change policy…”. And in a blog last week, following revelations in the Telegraph that 177 public bodies were being axed, they stated:

“Whilst the news is initially encouraging… the Telegraph also lists a number of bodies still under review. It names the Carbon Trust, The Advisory Council on Public Records and the Energy Savings Trust among others whose future is yet undecided. This shows that there are still lots more quangos that can be added to this growing bonfire.”

20 Responses to “The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust”

  1. Guppi Bola

    Oh why can't they just bugger off: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  2. John Ruddy

    what do you expect from the climate deniers? RT @leftfootfwd: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  3. Warren Hatter

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt *facepalm*

  4. Slugger O'Toole

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  5. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  6. John Ruddy

    The Tax Payers Alliance is well known as denying that Climate Change is taking place, or that we should be doing something about it. It is very close to certain people within the Tory Party who also deny climate change (amongst other things). They’ve been saying for years that organisations like The Carbon Trust should eb abolished.

  7. jeff marks

    The carbon trust never leveraged money out of the private sector ‘that wouldnt have been spent anyway’. In reality they picked winners – things that were happening anyway – gave them some money and then claimed to have been instrumental in that product/service. They were well known for having a higher barrier to investment in green ideas than any normal venture capitalist. They were therefore utterly unnecessary.

  8. Kevin Hall

    New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt (via @leftfootfwd)

  9. Guy Shrubsole

    My new blog – The Taxpayers' Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  10. Other TaxPayers Alli

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  11. Mr. Sensible

    Why am I not surprised at this kind of atitude from the so called Taxpayers’ Alliance?

  12. John Kolm-Murray

    RT @OtherTPA: RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  13. Gareth Winchester

    RT @leftfootfwd: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  14. mike

    is that the same tax payers to say who funds them
    Ashcrofts Belize Millions

    and refuse to condem fatty pickles for securing a £70,000 adapted ministerial car

    why wont they condem it

    because he speaks on their platforms along with the nutters from the Freedom Association

  15. Tim Beadle

    RT @OtherTPA: RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  16. ellispritchard

    Tossers RT @leftfootfwd: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  17. Darren Shirley

    RT @leftfootfwd: New post: The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the Carbon Trust http://bit.ly/bCNatt

  18. BE Washington CCET

    The Taxpayers’ Alliance declares war on the @thecarbontrust. http://bit.ly/bRqwAt

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    […] leaked documentssuggest a number of other green institutions supported by government, including The Carbon Trust and The Environment Agency, are now under […]

  20. Stealth cuts could threaten the green economy | Left Foot Forward

    […] organisation is likely to be happy, however. The Taxpayers’ Alliance last year ran a campaign to abolish the Carbon Trust. They may not have achieved all they wanted – but their advice seems […]

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