Coalition pledges 10% cut in government's emissions

Prime minister David Cameron ordered a 10% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from the government estate within a year on Friday, during his first visit to the energy and climate department (DECC)

The Department now has only three ministers, down from the previous four. But Mr Cameron said: “There is a fourth minister in this department who cares passionately about your agenda, and that is me.”

Partnering DECC’s Liberal Democrat secretary of state Chris Huhne will be ex-financier Greg Barker, formerly shadow climate change minister, and Charles Hendry, formerly a shadow energy minister.

The 10% pledge fulfils a promise the Conservatives made in December (ENDS Report 419, pp 56-57) and is in line with the aims of the 10:10 climate campaign (ENDS Report 416, p 4-5).

Energy and climate change will be the key priority for the new Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. “I want us to be the greenest government ever – a very simple ambition and one that I’m absolutely committed to achieving,” said Mr Cameron. An early step to fulfilling this ambition will be publishing, in real time, departmental energy consumption.

The government also released a final version of its earlier coalition agreement today. It fuses the two parties’ manifestos and fleshes out its earlier policy positions on energy and the environment (ENDS Report Bulletin, 13 May 2010).

It adds support for community-owned renewables projects and promises an annual statement to parliament on energy policy. The government will also develop green financial products to raise investment in infrastructure needed for a green economy.

But new nuclear power stations remain a difficult area. The two parties say they are firmly agreed that there should be no public subsidy for them. The Liberal Democrats will abstain on the issue rather than voting against and bringing down the government.

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