The new Prime Minister, Teresa May, has been forming her initial Parliament this week. When the dust settled on Thursday, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had been subsumed into an expanded Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The new department will be under the stewardship of Greg Clark MP.
Mr Clark is a former Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate so it is encouraging that the effective replacement for Amber Rudd (the new Home Secretary) has experience of the issues which concern our industry. He has also written a number of papers about low carbon economies. Supporters of the appointment are praising the decision to align business and climate strategy to help drive carbon reduction commitments.
Mr Clark said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”
Reaction to DECC’s closure has not been wholly positive with former Labour leader Ed Miliband, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Friends of the Earth Chief Executive Craig Bennett all criticising the decision. Fears that climate change has been forgotten in the midst of the Brexit fallout will need to be addressed during Mr Clark’s first few weeks in his new job.
Last week, the Government made a pledge to reduce carbon emissions by 57% by the 2030s. The strategy to achieve this is only one of a number of decisions facing Mr Clark in the coming months. Stroma Certification will be monitoring the situation as it evolves and of course we will be participating in the dialogue which helps shape future energy policy.
The shifts in the political landscape which have occurred in the past fortnight have been seismic. The appointment of Mr Clark can be optimistically appraised. He is an experienced operator, a supporter of carbon reduction, with the remit to bind it to a wider business and industrial strategy. Whilst sceptics will argue that the loss of a specific Climate Change department makes it ‘out of sight, out of mind’ there are now individuals at the top of government who understand that there is neither sense nor a possibility of marginalising the climate reduction agenda.
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