There is a backroom tussle behind the scenes about whether the Energy Bill is going to include a decarbonisation target, the Energy Secretary inadvertently let slip yesterday.
Pressed on whether the target would feature in imminent legislation while giving evidence to parliament’s energy watchdog last night, Ed Davey said he didn’t want to “pre-judge” the decision made by the Coalition partners.
Both the Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Coalition Prime Minister Nick Clegg have backed decarbonising the UK energy sector by 2030, which is a recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change. Businesses ranging from supermarkets Asda and M&S, turbine maker Vestas, soft-drink brand Pepsi and computer software firm Microsoft are keen for it, while the chiefs of three energy trade bodies, RenewableUK, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and the Nuclear Industry Association have also demanded the target. But not everyone, such as Chancellor George Osborne and npower owner RWE, seems to be convinced.
Yesterday Ed Davey (pictured) told MPs on the Energy Select Committee: “I can say this, I’ve always made it clear my personal view is there’s a lot of attraction for decarbonisation target of 2030… I think that we’ve got to work out in Government how we work that. I know there’s been an awful lot of industry who think it’s a good idea and see its virtue particularly for long-term supply chain.
“I want to make sure I don’t pre-judge discussions that are very intense and will come to conclusion soon. It wouldn’t’ be fair to colleagues… A little more patience and you’ll hear the result.”
With a very strong set to his chin, he added: “I don’t intend the Bill to be delayed.”
Quizzed on whether there was a point at which taking carbon out of the UK economy might become too expensive, Mr Davey stated: “It would take an awful lot for me to get to that point, I’ll be quite frank with you.
“If we were to get to the hypothetical point there would have to be deep debate on whether we could afford not to take action. When you look at what the World Bank and the CIA, the IEA have said in last ten days, I have to say I’m very persuaded we really need these investments.”