UK climate action: we're heading in the wrong direction
"...I see climate action as a vital safety net for our families and business. Protecting our homes, our livelihoods, our prosperity."
So said Amber Rudd, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
But as she spoke, a comprehensive demolition job was already underway and it has left those who care about climate change and Britain's clean energy future appalled. While the Climate Change Act is still there it stands amid the wreckage of policies intended to achieve our legally binding climate targets.
It is not just climate campaigners who are shocked: businesses who invested and planned on the basis of established policies, developed over many years, have found these suddenly knocked away. An estimated 30,000 jobs are at risk in the solar industry because the government would not wait a few years until the industry was well-established and self-supporting, but wants to cut funding immediately.
The government admits that the UK is off course to meet legally binding renewables targets.
And what about our emissions targets? Cameron has justified backing gas rather than renewables, on the grounds that our emissions targets will be met by using unproven carbon capture and storage technology (burying the problem of CO2 - both literally and metaphorically). But as of Tuesday 25 November £1 billion funding for commercial testing has just been withdrawn read more The credibility gap is becoming a chasm...
Latest news: the government is threatening to overrule Lancashire council's decision to refuse Cuadrilla's fracking planning application.
Here are the main policy changes that risk wrecking our climate:
Removing onshore wind subsidies - support for the cheapest form of clean energy will now end in April 2016 read more
Cuts to solar funding - endangering a vital industry in order to save households just 50p-£1.20 a year on bills. New community energy projects, which help not just our climate but have many benefits for local communities, will be far more difficult to establish read more
Making renewables pay the climate change levy - which was meant to encourage renewables - extending this tax to them it will cost the industry £3.9 billion read more
Planning changes to block onshore wind - making it much more difficult to build wind turbines, even when schemes have community support. read more
More planning changes to fast-track fracking - only 16 weeks allowed for councils or ministers step in read more
NEW: Even when councils reach a decision, ministers may overrule it (see above)
New tax breaks for fossil fuels - £1.3 billion more announced in March - no cuts here! read more
Scrapping the Green Deal for home insulation - What's worse than the weak Green Deal scheme? No support at all for home insulation. read more
NEW: Osborne announced in his autumn statement that funding for grants for insulation and efficient boilers for low-income households would also be cut. read more
Scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes target - which was supported by housebuilders as well as environmentalists read more
Massive road-building plans - £15 billion road-building spree still going ahead amid austerity read more
Planning an unnecessary new runway in the South East (and quietly ditching previous pledges on Heathrow) - a new runway at Heathrow could emit the same amount of CO2 as the whole country of Kenya! read more
Removing tax incentives to buy less-polluting cars - more polluting cars will be cheaper to run, efficient ones, much more expensive under the new rules read more