Energygate

Greenpeace puzzle

In her guest blog for ‘a greener life, a greener world’ this week, Charlotte Webster argued for more certainty from the Tories on wind power. She referenced recent comments from the newly appointed Energy Minister, John Hayes, that enough was enough in regards to UK onshore wind expansion, following the controversy earlier this year surrounding Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris’ letter to end onshore wind subsidies, which was signed by over 100 MPs.

Last night, a story broke about a recent undercover investigation by environmental campaigning organisation Greenpeace, which unveiled a coordinated conspiracy to appoint wind power and climate change sceptics in strategically relevant positions in government, in order to undermine the UK wind power industry and weaken the Climate Change Act. 

 
Windturbines

The latest government reshuffle saw a series of interesting new appointments; Owen Patterson, best known for campaigning against wind farms in his constituency, was appointed Environment Minister, and the well respected former Energy Minister, Charles Hendry, broadly viewed as one of the politicians who best understood the renewable industry, was replaced by climate change sceptic John Hayes. The final nail in the coffin was the appointment of another climate change sceptic, Peter Lilley, to a position on the Select Committee on Climate Change.

In the undercover video released by Greenpeace, Chris Heaton-Harris is heard saying out loud that he encouraged a Tory rival to stand in this week’s Corby by-election because he has an anti wind stance; that rival is climate change denier James Delingpole, who in fact did register in the election as an independent candidate, but later withdrew. 

Chris Heaton-Harris in the Greenpeace undervover video.

 This damning expose places growing pressure on the coalition government and asks several questions of them, notably; is this really, as Greenpeace suggests, evidence of a George Osborne engineered plot to move away from a green economy through the vilification of wind power? Or is it, as the Tory Party would claim, in fact a coincidence and not evidence of any link between the recently appointed ministers, whose views by the way do not accurately reflect the broader Party’s stance on wind power and the green economy.

The Guardian’s Head of Environment, Damian Carrington, has declared that this is ‘the end of the Government’s green fairytale’ with their ‘Vote Blue Go Green’ slogan. Green media watchdog, The Carbon Brief, are questioning whether the government will still support the Climate Change Act. Business Green Editor, James Murray, is urging Cameron to stand up to his party’s climate change sceptics and has tweeted ‘’It is time for the Conservative leadership to make plain, that they want nothing to do with this clumsy, plotting, fringe group’’ . And finally, The BBC’s Environmental Analyst, Roger Harrabin, points out that the government has not actually officially changed their energy policy, but that this story will create uncertainty in the wake of the upcoming Energy Bill.
 

As Corby goes to the polls today, it seems that this issue is not going to go away. The Green Party instantly called for Chris Heaton-Harris to resign, an action that will undoubtedly be seized upon by Labour to place future pressure on the government and renewables industry. 

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