Friday, 25 July 2014

An Update On What Ed Davey's Been Up To

I write this while on a visit to India. A few weeks ago I was in the US, and I’ve just left China. Why? These three countries are the world’s biggest emitters and the series of meetings I’m having all focus on paving the way for a global climate change deal next year. In the UK, and with our partners across the EU we are gaining momentum for an ambitious deal, which I hope will result in a domestic EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. But, the EU acting alone will not be enough – we need to take the rest of the world with us.

Back in the UK I’ve just announced two significant wins for Lib Dems in government, the first of which is very much about reducing emissions and tackling climate change. I have confirmed the 4th Carbon Budget will remain unchanged. This Budget sets out emissions caps for 2023-2027 and my predecessor Chris Huhne agreed that a review into the 4th Carbon Budget should be conducted to ensure the UK would not be out of kilter with the ambition – or lack of – of our European neighbours. The findings of my review are consistent with those of the Committee on Climate Change – the evidence showed that no change was required. We will not cut our climate change ambition.

Why is this an important victory? It’s common knowledge that keeping the Carbon Budget unchanged hasn’t been a view shared across the whole of government. Yet for the Liberal Democrats, Green NGOs, many businesses and investors, it’s been a priority. Keeping the cap unchanged sends a clear message that we will stick with our ambition to tackle climate change as we look to bolster support for a global deal. It’s been good to see my announcement welcomed by many of the Green NGOs including Greenpeace, WWF, and Friends of the Earth, alongside the CBI and many others.


I have also published details on how we intend to tackle fuel poverty in the long-term. While fuel poverty has fallen every year since 2010, there is of course more to do. The new definition of fuel poverty allows us to effectively target the fuel poor as it focuses on households with low incomes and high costs. Let’s not forget that under Labour their definition of fuel poverty was so off the mark that the Queen was said to be fuel poor!

The new proposals focus on driving up the energy efficiency of people’s homes and getting as many of them as we can up to an energy efficiency level of ‘Band C’ by 2030. But given far too many people live in Band G & F homes, this will not be easy. This will be bolstered by interim targets to again get as many as we can to Band E by 2020, and D by 2025. Again, it’s good to see the general welcome that these proposals have received from bodies including the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.

Alongside this we’ve proposed that from 2018 landlords will only be able to rent out properties meeting certain energy efficiency standards and that tenants have a right to request energy efficiency improvements from 2016.

So, when people ask you on the doorsteps what Lib Dems in Government have delivered, add tackling climate change and tackling fuel poverty to your list, which if you read my last post should already include delivering on green energy and green jobs.