Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon

Tory peer Lord Lawson says local authorities should do “absolutely nothing” to reduce their carbon emissions and that people are “ignoring the benefits of global warming”, something he describes as the “new religion”.

The former Conservative Chancellor Lord Lawson has made another outburst on behalf of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climate sceptic ‘think tank’ that operates out of the Institute of Mining and refuses to reveal its sources of funding.

This time he says local authorities should do “absolutely nothing” to reduce their carbon emissions and that people are “ignoring the benefits of global warming” – something he describes as the “new religion”.

He told councils:

“Local authorities should do absolutely nothing to tackle climate change. Your money could be put to far greater use.”

Putting aside the environmental benefits of carbon savings councils can make, local authorities who would follow Lawson’s advice would miss out on huge economic opportunities and benefits as these useful case studies from The Carbon Trust show.

Left Foot Forward highlights these examples of what’s possible – and how their climate measures have offered lower energy bills and cost savings too:

Kirklees Council filled 9,000 homes with cavity wall insulation and 18,000 homes with loft insulation. They’ve reduced bills for people by an average of £150 a year per home and made a huge dent in fuel poverty. Their scheme has also got unemployed builders back into work creating an estimated 200 jobs locally. The council estimate they are saving their area £4.5 million a year.

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea worked with The Carbon Trust to produce a carbon management plan aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 per cent by 2014. This is expected to save between £1.5 and £2.5m per year on energy bills from 2014.

Coventry City Council aims to reduce its emissions by 30 per cent over the next five years and expects to save £60,000 a year. Just one simple measure of replacing 26,000 street lights with lower wattage alternatives and a new energy efficient system specifically developed for outdoor lighting will save £122,000 a year.

Bristol City Council will save £4m a year through its carbon plan, and Aberdeen City Council will save £484,000 within four years through theirs.

Woking Borough Council was the first in the UK to implement a comprehensive climate strategy, putting the council on track to make significant cuts in emissions. Their model has been recognised nationally as a blueprint for what local councils can achieve, reducing their emissions by 20 per cent in four years.

Woking have their own ultra-efficient Combined Heat and Power (CHP) stations and decentralised energy network, and have put in places lots of other measures. The Council has also reduced heating costs for residents of council homes. Approximately 1,200 council owned properties benefit from low heating and power charges and up to March 2006, 4,489 households had been provided with free or subsidised insulation.

These achievements have brought financial reward to both the borough and its residents – since 1990, it is estimated that more than £5.4 million has been saved in municipal energy and water bills alone.

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