David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has already been asked to intervene in a continuing row between the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, about the Treasury’s attitude to environmental policies. The Treasury maintains that it holds no grudge against climate policies and considers all different policy options equally. However new evidence shows the extent of the Treasury’s bias towards fossil fuels.
Data released on the Treasury’s own website shows that they have had 7 times as many meetings with oil and gas companies, than they have with green sector representatives. Since the coalition government took power in May 2010 the Treasury has held 17 meetings with green campaign groups or clean energy lobbyists; a pitiful figure in comparison to the 119 meetings with representatives from fossil fuel and energy companies; airports and airlines; and the motoring lobby and car manufacturers. Shell was even granted 12 meetings on its own, and Centrica, a gas and electricity company, was privileged to have 6 private meetings.
George Osborne has never met a single representative from the green sector, yet has had eight separate meetings with oil companies, including individual discussions with Centrica, Exxon, Total and the offshore drilling trade group Oil and Gas UK.
Tim Yeo, the Conservative chair of the Commons energy and climate change select committee, said “the Treasury has never been signed up to the green agenda, but this has got much more serious in the past year. Their interventions on the energy bill, and clear interference over (renewable energy subsidies) ROCs have shown this – it all adds up to a clear sign that they are not supportive of progress on the low-carbon energy sector.”
Many worry that the Treasury’s attempts to undermine the clean energy sector could derail the government’s plans to reform the energy sector.
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com