John Redwood’s contribution to the debate on the Fourth Carbon Budget, 17 May

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): How exactly does the Secretary of State propose to ensure that the glass and ceramics, and steel and chemicals industries, which are high energy users, are not damaged by the taxes and regulations that he is proposing today?

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Chris Huhne): I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his question. The energy-intensive work group that we have set up between my Department and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will come forward with a set of measures by the end of the year. That is a clear commitment. As he knows, there are a number of ways to help energy-intensive industries, including the free allocation of units under the EU emissions trading scheme and encouraging a move towards the use of biomass and biofuels, for example. We are looking at all those measures to ensure that we can balance the concerns of the energy-intensive industries as well as make substantial progress towards the low-carbon economy.

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  1. gyges
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    “… and encouraging a move towards the use of biomass and biofuels, … “

    So it’s a wealth transfer mechanism where wealth is transferred from poor people to large corporations…

  2. Gammidgy
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t this question miss the point? It is those high-energy industries that need to be disrupted, to reduce the overall energy consumption. By pushing up the prices of energy intensive materials we encourage engineers to find cheaper, greener alternatives. The countries that stimulate such innovation will win the economic benefits in the long term.

    • frank salmon
      Posted May 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

      Gmmidgy, so we destroy manufacture because it ‘needs’ to happen.
      And ‘encourage’ means ‘force’ in Orwellspeak. So I know where you’re coming from.
      Did anyone use your logic during the industrial revolution?
      I think not. Any country decrying canals, railways, cars or aviation would quickly have become a backwater. But perhaps that’s what you want?

  3. Paul
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Gammidgy, good in theory but that only works if everybody has the same costs. If we follow this unilateral course towards unnecessarily high energy costs we simply transfer energy intensive industries abroad.
    But the government is posturing; everybody knows it isn’t going to happen. The get-out clause is the alignment to what the rest of the EU does. And there will be some frantic back-peddling in Europe on CO2 reduction when even the politicians realise how many jobs it will destroy.

  4. Alan Wheatley
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I have a better idea for government efforts. If they wish to help I suggest they invest in research with the aim of reducing the net cost of energy in the production process. For instance, that which is heated up subsequently cools down, giving an opportunity to recover energy.

    Such techniques would not only be good for less CO2 but also very good for British competitiveness.

  5. stred
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    The countries that do not tax their high energy industries will put those that do out of business. The innovation will move elsewhere. Huhne obviously is living in his own back to front world and really needs to be helped on his way.

    I was amused by an advertisement put out by Peugeot for their new electric mini. It is described as’ having zero emissions while driving’. The fact that while charging, in the UK and other low nuclear powered countries it will be producing as much CO2 as a modern diesel is omitted.

    No doubt Huhne and non technos like my green MP swallow this sort of spin. The equally non technically minded green voters need to be educated about real green engineering. I recently walked into the polling station in Brighton as she was coming out, looking smug after their success. She was surrounded by female greens who think saving the world from CO2 will only come from windmills and wave power. They tend to be keen are keen on leylines, glass prisms and that sort of thing. Unfortunately, they have a large following.

  6. Mike Stallard
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    I cannot believe I am reading this.
    It all rests on the false premise that carbon emissions cause global warming when they quite obviously do no such thing.
    Have we simply gone mad?

  7. BobE
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Won’t biomass (Wood burning) require importing large quantities of wood.

    • frank salmon
      Posted May 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      Are you insane? Look, if all agriculture in Britain were turned over to wood production we would not only serve all our our own needs – we would become net exporters of wood (biomass).
      Not only that but we could make huge money from selling carbon credits to carbon manufactories like China because we won’t be doing it anymore…..
      It’s easy. With the money we get we pay for all our food and manufacture. No one need ever work again in the UK. It’s the way we are headed!

  8. stred
    Posted May 18, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Mike. Unfortunately, it is not only the huge increase in CO2 and possible chaotic consequences, but the simple fact that India and China will be buying much more carbon fuel whrn it is about to run out. Fuel cost is already spiralling and we need alternatives, This urgency is apparently not understood by plonkers like Huhne or the CO2 antis.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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