Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories’ green claims

Green issues just aren’t as central to the [Tories’] political offer as they once were; green issues are not needed to ‘de-toxify’, because Lib Dems do this.

In opposition George Osborne made lots of green promises, for example he said “if I become chancellor, the Treasury will become a green ally, not a foe” – but today Mr Osborne announced that the budget of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is to be cut by 18 per cent in real terms over the next four years, and the environment department’s is to be cut by 29 per cent.

This seems to reflect comments from one Number Ten adviser quoted in The Guardian this week, who said:

“There’s no doubt about it… Green issues just aren’t as central to the [Tories’] political offer as they once were… Green issues are not needed to ‘de-toxify’, because the Lib Dems do this.

Anyway, here’s a round up of the most significant green announcements today:

• The long-promised Green Investment Bank will get just £1 billion, much less than the £4-6bn Ernst and Young recommended, and hoped for by green campaigners. It will only begin to kick in from 2013. It is not yet clear if it will be a real bank, established through primary legislation, and able to issue bonds and loans, and it is not clarified whether or not it will have a clear mandate for clean energy and energy efficiency projects

Executive director of Greenpeace, John Sauven, says:

“A poorly financed fund is not a green bank. It doesn’t have the financial clout, or the independence to do the job, and will end up as nothing more than an ill-equipped quango. So if this government wants to live up to its own billing as the greenest ever, this bank must be independent and properly financed.”

• The budget for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology appears to have been massively scaled back from almost £10bn under the previous Labour administration to just “up to £1bn”. Perhaps then it’s no coincidence that E.ON announced this morning it wouldn’t be proceeding with its controversial Kingsnorth project for a new coal plant with only partial CCS, saying the economics no longer stacked up.

The Guardian’s head of environment writes:

“A full £1bn would get one CCS demo built, but the plan was for four – there’s little hope for the other three.”

If this turns out to be true it runs counter to the ‘coalition agreement’, which promises to match Labour’s four CCS demonstration projects. However, BusinessGreen reports DECC are still working on how to fund the other three. Jeff Chapman of the ‘Carbon Capture and Storage Association’ described £1bn for CCS demos as “a step backwards” and “a blow to business confidence”.

• Whilst the headline of a raised Department for International Development (DfID) budget looked good on the surface, Left Foot Forward understands this will hide cuts made in other departments including defence, environment and climate change ministries. For example, the £1.5bn promised in Copenhagen, to be spent over the next three years to help protect rainforests and support the poorest countries to cope with impacts of climate shifts, is now to will come from raiding existing budgets, including the aid budget.

• Rail fares are to soar 3 per cent above inflation for the next three years. This is likely to drive people into their cars and onto planes and so it has horrified sustainable transport campaigners. Stephen Joseph, the head of the Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“Hard-working commuters who depend on the train face paying over £1,000 more for their annual season ticket by the time of the next election.”

• One bit of good news on the green front is that “£200 million for low-carbon technologies including offshore wind technology and manufacturing infrastructure at port sites” has been saved. This was perhaps a reaction to press reports this would see off 60,000 green jobs in new wind turbine factories – as reported by Left Foot Forward last week.

• Also saved is the Renewable Heat Incentive, though The Guardian reported it would be worth 20 per cent less than Labour’s. This has been saved at the expense of the Warm Front programme, which aimed at helping the fuel poor. Equally, ‘feed in tariffs’ designed to provide an incentive to clean energy pioneers are set to fall from 2013 by about £40m.

• The existence of The Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust are still “under review”.

UPDATE 17.28:

Following a call from a DfID press officer, the author would like to clarify that the £1.5bn promised in Copenhagen was, under Labour as well as the Coalition, going to be raided from DfiD’s budget.

43 Responses to “Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories’ green claims”

  1. Shamik Das

    Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman on @leftfootfwd #CSR

  2. Andrew Tindall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  3. nef

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  4. Amisha Ghadiali

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  5. Joss Garman

    I just blogged a full green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  6. Warren Hatter

    @YouGenUK You might be interested in @jossgarman's take on FITs anouncement in his green audit of CSR 4 @leftfootfwd: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  7. Will Straw

    Read @jossgarman's green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  8. Bryony Victoria King

    RT @wdjstraw: Read @jossgarman's green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  9. Christine Ottery

    RT @jossgarman: I just blogged a full green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  10. The Green Party

    RT @jossgarman I just blogged a full green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here – http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  11. glynis powell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  12. William Stringer

    RT @TheGreenParty: RT @jossgarman I just blogged a full green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here – http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  13. Joss Garman

    @guardianeco @TransformUK #CSR green audit blog here: http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  14. Elrond Burrell

    RT @TheGreenParty: RT @jossgarman I just blogged a full green audit of the CSR for @leftfootfwd here – http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  15. FairPensions

    RT @jossgarman a full green audit of the CSR -> http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  16. Rachel Hardy

    Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims | Left Foot Forward http://goo.gl/kz2u Oh what a surprise.

  17. AdamRamsay

    RT @jossgarman a full green audit of the CSR -> http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  18. Anna Hirschfeld

    RT @FairPensions: RT @jossgarman a full green audit of the CSR -> http://bit.ly/dbkR9J

  19. Lynda Waltho

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims http://bit.ly/aZ67qV

  20. Gordon Gibson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  21. Celyn

    RT @GinWales: RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  22. Oxford Kevin

    Also the only area where there will be an increase in capital spending is on new road projects. Consequently there will be a move of commutters from train and buses to road.

  23. Jim Stanbury

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  24. anne greagsby

    The St Athan £14bn project just dumped never was green and we still have Lab MPs bleating about it. Like Chris Bryant whose local lab party had £2,500 froom Bell Pottinger which questions his intergrity never mind the wisdom of screaming for the Metrix project – wanting Raytheon arms dealers to train our troops!
    Also at St Athan – the Aerospace BP – absolute and costly failure, no business partner, no business plan, unsavory linkage with weapons, out of sync with low carbon economic transition – and the runway with annual running costs of £m’s. Nothing green about that.

  25. william

    What is really good is the prospect of 8 new nuclear power stations, advocated by a Libdem minister!

  26. Chris

    So much for the greenest government ever, they’re cutting everything except road building.

  27. Anon E Mouse

    And remind me again how much Labour put into the “The Green Bank”?

    Joss Garman once again showing his true colours….

  28. Mike Thomas

    If these green industries had such a compelling business case then the money would come from the private sector.

    Oh they don’t?

    Don’t worry, we’ll still have to pay for expensive and pointless green technologies by higher energy bills. As an item of autonomous household expenditure, how does that hit low income households?

    Still, at least there’ll be no Third Runway at Heathrow.

  29. Ms Wanda

    RT @leftfootfwd Huge cuts to climate and environment http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman <<ok so now I'm really depressed

  30. sam trotman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  31. Chris

    @mouse

    Yawn, your desperate to smear Joss Garman, although he was a noted critic of the last governments environment policy you continually insinuate he is some sort of Labour stooge. Is this your way of dealing with the total betrayal the LibDems have perpetuated on you and the electorate as a whole? I bet you went round trying to convince all your family, other patients and strange men you met in bars that Nick Clegg was the future of progressive politics – now you can’t handle the shame.

  32. NewLeftProject

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims: http://bit.ly/cPFg2y reports @jossgarman #CSR

  33. NewLeftProject

    Fanks libdems! No. 10 advisor: "Green issues are not needed to ‘de-toxify’ [the Tories], because the Lib Dems do this" http://is.gd/gae3G

  34. gwenhwyfaer

    RT @NewLeftProject: Fanks libdems! No. 10 advisor: "Green issues are not needed to ‘de-toxify’ [the Tories], because the Lib Dems do this" http://is.gd/gae3G

  35. Mr. Sensible

    Kevin, if that’s true, that won’t exactly do much for encouraging people out of their cars and on to public transport.

    1 piece of good news is that 2 new tram lines in Nottingham are going ahead.

    Where is the insentive for people to switch to public transport?

    And, Mike, this is the same private sector who everyone says can’t get any credit.

  36. adrian

    why would anybody want to switch to public transport? you know how many people it kills a year? there are about 40,000 excess deaths every winter generally from cardio-pulmonary complications associated with flu and other infections. if you want to live, better be in a car than being coughed all over in a bus.

  37. Mr. Sensible

    AAdrian if we followed tht argument through to its logical conclusion no one would go anywhere.

    You could just as easily catch something in a shop, on the street, in your office…

  38. Kiern Moran

    I think the Labour Party now is being punished now for crying wolf too much. And there is an excellent Mitchell and Webb sketch that explores that. Yes we were wrong about Iraq. However we did also say that the bloke running the Tory media strategy used to run the M&S campaign just before they became popular again. When they started running all those adverts about how they cared for the planet and how green M&S is. Boom, David Cameron suddenly becomes Mr Green, I cycle to work (a car follows behind me); I believe in alternative energy (we will oppose every wind farm); we are serious about manmade climate change 9we will oppose the climate tax); we will make a difference (we will start by cutting virtually a third off the environment budget). Labour said this lot are just a bunch of unreformed Thatherites, who distrust the collective and will cut public services. They, the Tories are axing a quarter of the majority of public services. And the increase in health is going to fund a poorly thought out reform that lowers power to a point doctors don’t want it, cannot manage it and only, ultimately results in a worse service that results in people thinking; this national health service, it’s a bit shit – why do we not scrap it. Labour said they were ideologically driven and guess what, we weren’t lying.

  39. Right To Work

    RT @debtgeneration: So much for the Tories green credentials http://fb.me/vF4X0wG4

  40. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – So you’re suggesting that to associate Joss Garman with the Labour Party is a smear?

    Are you finally realising just how bad they were in government?

    Knew you’d have to face the truth eventually. Nice one…

  41. Sarah Turner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Huge cuts to climate and environment departments hit Tories' green claims http://bit.ly/aZ67qV

  42. Comprehensive Spending Review: a green audit | Joss Garman

    […] I did a sort of ‘environmental audit’ of the coalition’s spending review, and it’s implications for environmental protection and building a low-carbon economy over at Left Foot Forward. […]

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