Polling shows UK government increasingly at odds with public on climate

Intro

‬‪The UK government is increasingly out of step with its public as climate change and energy rocket up people’s list of concerns. New polling data from the Department for Energy and Climate Change shows climate and energy supply now rank joint fourth in people’s minds as the biggest challenges facing the UK, up from 8th and 9th of the list of 10 challenges just two years ago. Experts believe the rise is down to a number of factors including a decrease in concern over the economy and the increasingly extreme weather experienced in the UK over the last year. And such concern over climate change could further rise, as Oxford University research shows higher temperatures mean intense rainfall is now a one in 80 years event rather than a one in 100 years event.‬

Yet the UK government continues to undermine the country’s green policies. Following a pledge from the leading Conservative party that it will end onshore wind subsidies if it wins the next election, reports in the Daily Mail suggest the government could now go after solar, despite it being one of the most popular energy sources in the UK. Energy Minister Greg Barker is expected to announce a review of solar industry subsidies in the coming weeks, another move likely not only to alienate the UK public, but also to undermine investor confidence and put the country’s carbon targets at risk. With £100 billion investment needed for the UK to transition to a low carbon economy, a study by the UK Energy Research Centre has found that failing to provide policy certainty will undermine investment and push up energy bills and carbon emissions in the long run.

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RT ‏@carbonbrief Polling shows energy supply and climate change have rocketed up people’s list of concerns. Why? http://bit.ly/1mbgajy

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Key Quotes 

  • “For the last decade energy policy in the UK has been an increasingly delicate balancing act between reducing emissions, security and affordability. Policymakers are right to be sensitive to the financial pressures facing the public and businesses, but action to relieve these pressures shouldn’t come at the cost of progress towards a low-carbon economy. Current uncertainties about the direction of UK energy policy run the very real risk of making energy less affordable, less secure and less sustainable in the long-term.” – Professor Jim Watson, Research Director of the UK Energy Research Centre
  •  “Raising the billions of pounds needed to fund the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy will be challenging, but is achievable. Most low-carbon projects rely heavily on existing utility companies for funding but these companies are facing multiple pressures on balance sheets and a key challenge for policymakers is to create the conditions that either allow utilities to raise the finance needed by themselves or permit new forms of project finance, in order to attract sources of international capital into the sector.” – Dr Rob Gross, Director of the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College London 

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  • RT ‏@BusinessGreen Report: Green policy uncertainty could derail UK carbon targets http://bit.ly/1kdU9xZ
  • MT ‏@LeonieGreene Solar is THE most popular energy source in UK. @DECCgovuk’s own data. And public support has risen. pic.twitter.com/iOV7buqjd5
  • MT ‏@doug_parr Current uncertainty abt UK energy pol run risk of making energy less affordable, secure & sustainable http://bit.ly/1rErc2n