Will Brown be saved by grateful greens for increasing our fuel bills?
Today is the test of whether the Brown tenure is fixable. This morning he will launch his "green revolution"; the most ambitious change in energy policy in 50 years. Wind turbines will become "as familiar as pylons", according to a No 10 insider. Offshore wind production will increase by 30 times; 35 per cent of UK electricity should come from renewable sources (up from five per cent). New nuclear power stations will be built. Greenhouse gas emissions could be down by nearly 20 per cent within 12 years; oil use should drop by seven per cent...
Maybe Brown hasn't gone far enough. There's still a row in Cabinet between the greens (David Miliband and Hilary Benn) and the non-green John Hutton...
But Brown's speech isn't just about climate change. He will argue, correctly, that the economic future is green. Back-sliding Britain has a chance to get ahead; renewables will create 160,000 jobs. The package also answers other criticisms. It's a big idea; it's principled; and it was assembled with minimal Prime Ministerial dithering. The fightback starts today.
Householders will be warned today to expect five years of higher home energy bills to pay for a green power revolution.
John Hutton, the Business Secretary, will outline plans for a massive shift away from fossil fuels to wind, solar and tidal power, but will add that the change comes at a price. “We think there will be a cost,” he told The Times yesterday....But he said that it was a necessary price to pay if Britain was serious about addressing climate change and switching to green technology.
The biggest challenge, he said, would be attracting companies to make the cumulative £100 billion investment and beating competition from other European countries rushing to do the same thing. If successful, it would lead to the creation of 160,000 British jobs. “We're in a race for this investment,” he said.