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Cameron says energy efficiency is good for prosperity but makes no new announcements

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David Cameron

David Cameron

David Cameron’s speech today on energy efficiency and green growth failed to surge to the top of the news agenda. A few hours after he made it a Google news search showed only the Guardian among mainstream media, had a story. There were two items on Business Green and one at Blue and Green Tomorrow.

There was not even anything about it on the Department of Energy and Climate Change web site. The speech was to launch DECC’s “energy efficiency mission”. Nor did the site have the text of the speech, but Business Green did.


DECC website

It was a speech strangely lacking in passion, reading as if it was written by a hack in the press office with instructions not to say anything really controversial.

Perhaps that was the problem because while there was nothing I would regard as controversial the Guardian reported: “The remarks are likely to antagonise those Tory MPs who have campaigned for cuts to green energy subsidies and the watering down of climate targets.”

They must be easily offended because Cameron stressed: “My argument today is not just about doing what is right for our planet, but doing what is right for our economy too.”

He said:

Make no mistake we are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race, the economies in Europe that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient.

Let me be clear why that is. Energy consumption is set to grow by a third over the next two decades alone. And in a race for limited resources it is the energy efficient that will win that race.

It is the businesses that are best insulated from energy price shocks who will be the most successful, it is the consumers who are the least vulnerable to energy prices whose household bills will be the lowest and who can be the most confident about their future….

So to those who say we just can’t afford to prioritise green energy right now, my view is we can’t afford not to.

After the speech Mike Barry, head of sustainable business at Marks and Spencer told the Guardian it was “great” to hear the prime minister was supportive of green growth but business now needed “long-term policy to get to the next level”.

That sums it up. Reading the speech it is worthy but says nothing new. A safe speech. There were no announcements to energise research, innovation or industry.



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