New video: #climate and energy policies of the UK become entwined, 2000 to 2009…

Most of my videos are rough as a badger’s arse. This one, this is rougher.

Here’s a version of the transcript I was stumbling over…

Hello, This video will tell you a little bit about the entwining of climate and energy policies between 2000 and 2009 in the UK. There’s a story about what happened – and didn’t happen – before that, but for another time.

The video draws on two papers – [Lovell et al 2009 and Pearson and Watson 2012], but interpretations and errors are mine all mine.

The starting gun was the June 2000 report ”Energy: The Changing Climate” by the since-abolished Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. This proposed a target of a 60% cut in UK emissions by 2050, and was influential enough for Prime Minister Blair to ask his Productivity and Innovation Unit to do an Energy Review. 

In February 2002 this reported that, recommending that target

The February 2003 Energy White Paper “called that 60 percent target. And it said that nuclear was not cost effective.

However, there were concerns among some about energy security – the UK was becoming a gas importer – and a concerted push for nuclear to get more support.

In November 2005 Prime Minister Blair gave a pro-nuclear speech at the CBI. this was followed by a rushed consultation document and “consultation” that led to the July 2006 Energy Review – mirabile dictu – saying that nuclear was the Way Forward. 

Greenpeace sued, successfully, over this, for all the good it did.

At the end of 2005 David Cameron had become Conservative Party leader. To “detoxify the brand” he pushed on stronger climate action. In the “competitive consensus” that followed much happened.

In March 2007 consultation began on the “Climate Change Bill”. Two months later, another Energy White Paper was released, in May 2007, this one proposing more nuclear and also a carbon capture and storage demonstration plant, and, of course, not much support for renewables.

In October 2008 we finally got a “Department of Energy and Climate Change”,which lasted through to 2016. The following month saw the passage of the Climate Change Act – mandating an 80% reduction in UK emissions by 2050, and creating the “Committee on Climate Change.”

The following year, with the electoral writing clearly on the wall and the Global Financial Crisis biting, the Labour government started talking about “low carbon industrial strategy”.

And I will leave this quote from Dieter Helm up for you to have a look at

“The latest initiative is the around 800 pages of White Papers and consultation papers produced in July 2009 (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, 2009d, 2009e, 2009f). They include a Renewables Strategy, setting out how the government intends to achieve the EU Renewables Directive target, and the Low Carbon Transition Plan, which repeats much of the former, and adds in transport. These voluminous documents provide an insight into how Britain’s climate change policy has been constructed. They propose an altogether implausible policy that is unlikely to achieve its objectives, and at very considerable cost—above and beyond that needed to make the required carbon emission reductions” (Helm, 2010: 183). 

Throughout this, elite actors saw climate in terms of a technical and technological problem to solve, rather than a “Wake Up, the world is dying” kind of thing. 

 Similarly remorseless increases in energy demand were taken as a given, and only large-scale centralised production sources were taken seriously.  

Carpe the diems – it is later than you think.

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