Tim Yeo: Energy Strategy is ‘Short-Sighted’ and ‘Costly’

From The Guardian

By Jessica Shankleman

Tim Yeo has this morning launched a blistering attack on the chancellor and his pro-gas allies, accusing them of embracing a “short-sighted”, “extremely risky” and potentially “costly” energy strategy.

Speaking at an event at Bloomberg’s HQ in London, the Conservative MP and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee confirmed he would table an amendment to the energy bill that would deliver a decarbonisation target for the electricity sector.

“I will not stand by and watch the wrong decisions being made on energy policy,” he said, confirming he would propose a target range for the electricity sector in 2030 that would require “power plants to produce less than 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kWh of electricity”.

The amendment echoes proposals from the independent Committee on Climate Change, which were rejected by Chancellor George Osborne over fears such a target would block investment in new gas infrastructure.

A compromise agreement with the Lib Dems means the proposed Bill commits to revisit the issue of a decarbonisation target in 2016, but green groups and investors argued the absence of a target will undermine investment in new low carbon projects.

Yeo’s intervention paves the way for a potential backbench rebellion against the government.

Labour has said it would support a decarbonisation target and Lib Dem MPs will be under intense pressure to vote in favour of the amendment after their party conference backed the proposal. A number of green Tories are also likely to side with Yeo in supporting the plan.

Yeo said he would seek to introduce the amendment after the Bill’s report stage, which would be towards the end February.

He added that there was a “realistic chance” the amendment would be passed, given that it is already supported by the logic of the CCC, green groups, a range of businesses, and some members of his committee.

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