Open Europe Blog

Former windmill on David Cameron’s former home
publicising a former policy?

David Cameron once said his Coalition would be the “greenest ever“, he once even installed a windmill on his own house in the hope of publicising his green credentials. No more it might seem. Yesterday he told the House of Commons:

“We need to roll back some of the green regulations and charges that are putting up bills.”

The heat in the cost of living debate is only set to rise, but do not hold out any great hope of a dramatic reduction in energy bills. For the most part they flow from legally enforceable EU laws that the UK signed up to. Something we warned against here and looked at again here.

This begs the question, which ones can the UK scrap on its own and will it seek to renegotiate the others?

  • EU Renewables Directive – imposes a legally binding target of 15% of all energy by renewables by 2020, which translates into producing 30% of UK electricity by costly renewables. This is the driving force behind subsidies and support for renewables. 
  • The UK does have more control over its new Carbon Price Floor policy (which sets a minimum carbon price) and some of its strict energy efficiency policies. But even these fall under the overall banner of the EU defined emission’s reduction targets which the EU will have to work very hard to hit.

So will the UK seek to renegotiate these headline targets to allow for cheaper forms of CO2 reductions? Lets see, but if not then all talk of reducing electricity bills are for the most part hot air.

UPDATE: Reuters reports on UK Government papers arguing that EU needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The “roll back” is going well then!

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