The Energy Bill going through the Commons is the result of an energy policy in transition – or an energy policy where Conservatives want cheaper energy and the Lib Dem Secretary of State remains wedded to dearer and scarcer energy.
The problem with Mr Davey’s old fashioned approach to global warming is it means visiting on the UK especially expensive energy. Far from cutting total global business demand for energy and therefore cutting global emissions, UK dear energy just makes it likely more and more energy using business will go somewhere else. Mr Davey’s approach will not spare the planet more carbon dioxide, but will cost us jobs and prosperity.
Then there is the problem of fuel poverty. Lib Dems used to worry about this, yet their energy policy stokes it. Recent fuel bills have been doubly damaging to many. Not only has the price of our power gone up a lot as the renewables kick in on the electricity bills, but it has been so unseasonally cold that people have had to have the heating on for longer. It has been around 42 degrees F when I have been getting up in May, and parts of the country had frosts and even snow. If we have to pay global warming prices for power, it would be nice to have global warming temperatures to go with it, so we did not need so much heating.
Dear energy policies leave people colder than they wish, buring more power with much higher bills. That leaves them short of money to buy other things they need. We do not want an energy policy that sends energy using business offshore, nor one which leaves granny shivvering, afraid to turn on the heating. We need to exploit the shale gas beneath our feet, build more combined cycle gas power stations, and go for cheaper energy. Then we could also afford the energy saving investments at home and at work that would help us burn less.