Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts

Joss Garman looks at the rifts and suprising divisions in the coalition government over environmental issues.

Vince Cable

The Liberal Democrats have long been seen as the greenest of the main three parties, and went into the election with strong promises about clean energy and ambitions to protect the environment and boost green industries. So how counter-intuitive to read on today’s Guardian front page that Vince Cable has been privately lobbying to water down the UK’s most important climate change targets, while William Hague has sought to defend them.

The FT (£) and Today Programme also reported today how leaked letters show that Vince Cable is arguing that the prime minister should reject on Monday the key recommendations of the government’s independent advisers on how to meet their legal obligations under the Climate Act.

The debate centres on recommendations from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) that the government should adopt:

• An indicative 2030 target to reduce emissions by 60 per cent relative to 1990 levels;

• A fourth carbon budget of 1,950 million tonnes of carbon dioxide on a gross basis (i.e. without purchasing offsets but done domestically) between 2023 and 2027.

This decision has been described by the head of the CCC – David Kennedy – as “the key test of the government’s commitment to the low-carbon agenda”, and yesterday the director of Friends of the Earth said Huhne should resign out of principle if he failed to persuade the prime minister to follow the CCC’s advice.

Left Foot Forward has learned that it’s not just the foreign secretary backing Huhne, but also Grant Shapps, Caroline Spelman and Oliver Letwin. However, officials in HMT and the Transport Department are lobbying against them and as with the argument over the Green Bank (an argument Huhne lost), it will ultimately be Cameron’s decision when it comes on Monday.

Cable’s remarks will be deeply embarrassing for the Lib Dem leadership, coming as they do just 24 hours after Nick Clegg told Andrew Marr he wanted to put a new sense of priority on the green agenda, and on the same day (and in the same paper) that Danny Alexander told Patrick Wintour he wanted to see a new focus on the environment. It’s also interesting timing for David Cameron as Saturday will mark one year since he promised to lead “the greenest government ever”.

As tensions rise in the coalition, the low-carbon agenda could be seen as part of the glue that could bind the leadership together offering common ground for Tory modernisers and the Lib Dems and an opportunity for the Lib Dems to put some clear water between themselves and the Tory Right. It seems Vince Cable doesn’t see it like that but Monday’s decision from the prime minister will be key.

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18 Responses to “Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts”

  1. Daniel Juett

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  2. Richard George

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  3. Mabel Horrocks

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  4. Pucci Dellanno

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  5. Ken Moon

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  6. Brandi Evans

    Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK's climate efforts: The Liberal Democrats have long … my site, DIY Videos

  7. Ben Niblett

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts: writes @JossGarman

  8. London IWW

    Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts | | #ClimateChange #GlobalWarming #ConDem

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Joss Garman – So in your eco toff world no one is allowed freedom of speech without facing the “wrath” of the “progressive” Guardian reading minority?

    It seems the shrill hysteria that follows this climate change nonsense never ceases, irrespective of the economy.

    This is a Labour supporting blog – it seems strange that the days of Labour supporting people who eat fish and chips have been overtaken by rich kids eating muesli and earnestly predicting the end of the world.

    It looks pathetic that you care more about an increase in temperature (when the world has got colder again) than about people getting jobs and supporting themselves. Not that that is a concept you’re familiar with I suppose…

  10. Northern Worker

    Anon, couldn’t have put it better myself. I despair that the so-called party of the workers seems detemined to reduce us all to poverty because otherwise the planet will self destruct. Jobs are much more important than carbon footprints when we have no clue as to whether living on the breadline will make any difference. And as Anon says the party seems to have been hijacked by Guardian reading chattering classes. I’ll go with Vince at least he’s had a proper job.

  11. Friends of the Earth

    RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts

  12. sonja francis

    RT @wwwfoecouk: RT @leftfootfwd: Vince Cable caught seeking to scupper UK’s climate efforts

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Northern Worker – This Dan Hodges fella seems to get the Labour Party spot on…

  14. Campaign against Climate Change

    A demonstration has been planned for Monday morning outside the LibDem HQ, more info here:

  15. Rob Brookes

    Please read the facts about climate change before denouncing any efforts to try to stop it. Billions of people are likely to die and they are going to be the poorest. James Hansen likens the coal trucks delivering to power stations to the Nazi trucks delivering Jews to the concentration camps each one likely to kill hundreds of people. And Monkton, Bellamy et al do not believe the most probable facts for some reason of their own. Socialism without environmentalism will kill more than war.

  16. Anon E Mouse

    Rob Brookes – Why is it when the amateur dramatics on climate change start we always manage to get back to Hitler?

    Ignoring the FACT that the world continues to get colder year on year, the phenomenon of Nazi comparison is known as Godwins Law and is normally used in student debating societies.

    And by the way socialism has killed millions of people with or without environmentalism. There never was a “progressive” majority in this country – it’s just a word that is meaningless…

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