Monday, 6 August 2012

Cuts for wind farm funding, tax breaks for gas

It is with some disquiet I have read reports of Treasury attempts to weaken the UK government’s commitment to its climate change targets.   

The Church of Scotland values the commitments made by both the UK and Scottish Governments and strongly supports the leading international role both governments have taken.  The climate change legislation of both governments should be a source of pride.

However the UK Government Department of Energy and Climate Change, under pressure from the Treasury, has confirmed a 10 per cent cut in payments for new wind farms and it is possible that more cuts could be made following a review in 2013/14.  At the same time the Treasury announced that some new gas fields will be exempt from tax, prompting a commitment by Centrica to invest more in North Sea gas exploration. 

This may appear to be a quick cheap fix but is one that will almost certainly make our climate change targets more difficult if not impossible to reach; and will prolong our dependence on carbon fuel sources. 

Do we have to use all the gas in the North Sea before we make renewables the main source of our energy? I fear this may be the case and that the UK Treasury considers climate change with all its long term consequences less important than cutting the cost of gas.  What kind of message this sends out to business, to people across the UK and to the world is not comforting

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