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.

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

  1. Teresa

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  2. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  3. Teresa

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  4. Joss Garman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  5. Mihalis Santamas

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  6. LSESU Labour

    One man, one special interest group, one embarrassingly draconian policy stance //bit.ly/avIBko #lordlawson

  7. Matthew Sinclair

    Good afternoon,

    I wouldn’t hang your hat on those figures from the Carbon Trust if I were you. There is good reason to think they are dodgy. Windsor and Maidenhead, who have a track record of successfully making big cuts in energy use through transparency, were deeply dissatisfied with the results of the projects the Carbon Trust sold them.

    //www.rbwm.gov.uk/public/meetings_091117_sp_minutes.pdf

    “The Chairman went onto explain that he felt the Council had been sold a wonderful idea but that only a third of the predictions were going to occur which he felt boiled down to the original plan being wildly optimistic.”

    Of course, if councils can use their resources more efficiently then they should. But you haven’t addressed the point Lawson is addressing. I.e. should councils make sacrifices in the value they provide to taxpayers now in order to reduce emissions. He argues they shouldn’t given the small scale of their possible impact on emissions compared to big emitters in other countries. Arguing that there are some steps that can be taken that are worthwhile anyway and cut emissions as a side effect is rather dodging that point. People make decisions that reduce emissions all the time – emissions intensity was falling for decades before global warming became an issue – without trying to tackle climate change

    Best,
    Matt

  8. paddymorris

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  9. Amster

    RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon: //bit.ly/ckrngu reports @jossgarman

  10. John Ruddy

    Idiot-cutting carbon saves money too RT @leftfootfwd: Lawson to councils: Do “absolutely nothing” to cut your carbon //bit.ly/avIBko

  11. John Ruddy

    Matthew,
    Firstly, the Carbon Trust doesnt “sell” anything. They exist to promote ways to cut carbon. Think of them like an independant financial advisor, if the value of your fund crashes, its not the fault of the IFA if he/she did their job properly.

    On the wider question of whether these things actually work, or achieve what they claim, the Carbon Trust go to great lengths to validate the savings claimed by various technology companies. However, with many of these ways of saving energy, much is down to the commitment from senior officers and elected members. If, for instance, the elected members of a council, lets call them “Mindsor and Wadenhead” as a hypothetical example, dont believe in climate change, and dont think that the council should be spending its money on such things, then surprise surprise, the council doesnt make the savings. Staff wont buy into switching off equipment, operating energy saving technology properly etc.

  12. Tim Parkin

    Former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson says councils should 'Do absolutely nothing' to cut carbon emissions – //bit.ly/aR0QFa

  13. Matthew Sinclair

    John Ruddy,

    a) If your IFA sells you an investment that turns out to be rubbish they would be a bad IFA. The Carbon Trust appear to have been a bad advisor in at least one case, and I’m far from convinced it is isolated.

    b) As I mentioned, Windsor and Maidenhead have been one of the most successful councils in cutting energy use and emissions. They aren’t led by Nigel Lawson. My thinking is that they are just better informed so noticed these projects weren’t delivering the promised results.

  14. James Nee

    The odious Nigel Lawson tells local authorities do “absolutely nothing” to reduce their carbon emissions. //trunc.it/a5ock

  15. Andy Williams

    RT @Jamesnee: The odious Nigel Lawson tells local authorities do “absolutely nothing” to reduce their carbon emissions. //trunc.it/a5ock

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