Updated Nov 2016
Energy & Climate Change: Updates
Key questions on climate finance
As international negotiators prepare for a series of talks on climate change and sustainable development, Joss Garman looks at the crucial issue of climate finance. Questions of how the necessary investments will be financed, and by whom, will play a key part in negotiations leading up to and at the COP21 talks in Paris in November.
Joss Garman on 'the basic shape of a truly global climate agreement'
IPPR's Joss Garman went to Lima, Peru, to observe the COP20 UN climate summit. His short commentary provides reflections on the course of negotiations, including some positive signs of avenues for global agreement ahead of the Paris negotiations in November 2015.
Regulation will improve competition and ensure fairer energy prices for consumers
Our report The true cost of energy: How competition and efficiency in the energy supply market impact on consumers' bills reveals that some people are paying £330 more a year than their neighbour for energy and that the 'Big 6' energy companies are continuing to overcharge existing consumer to subsidise cheap offers.
Greg Barker: Where next for the Green Investment Bank?
Conservative MP Greg Barker made a speech at IPPR's London offices on 11 June 2014.
An illustrated guide to a brighter future
To accompany our major report on the economic case for tackling climate change, we produced an illustrated guide laying out all the must-know facts on climate change and its impacts, and our proposals for reform.
Mark Rowney speaks to the Resource Association Conference 2014 about redefining 'waste'
Evaluating the benefits of solid wall insulation
IPPR is conducting research into the benefits of solid wall insulation. Interim findings from the research have been published and show:
- Investing in solid wall insulation creates a substantial numbers of jobs. If support for solid wall insulation is cut in line with the government's plans, around 20,000 jobs would be lost.
- Investing in solid wall insulation can create substantial levels of revenue for the Exchequer. If this income is taken into account the cost to government of supporting solid wall insulation could be around a third of what is generally assumed to be the case.
- Investing in solid wall insulation generates substantial community benefits, in terms of health, regeneration and social capital.
Ed Davey on achieving stability in the energy market
Energy secretary Ed Davey made a speech titled 'Energy divided' at IPPR's London offices on 13 February 2014.
Why support offshore windfarms?
Caroline Flint on Labour's energy plans
Shadow energy minister Caroline Flint made a speech at IPPR's London offices on 2 December 2013, setting out the Labour party's planned package of measures to address failures in the UK's energy markets. Her speech coincided with the government's announcement of its policy plans for the energy sector, and follows on the heels of the Labour party's green paper on energy.
- Download a transcript of Caroline Flint's speech
Household bills, energy efficiency and the Green Deal: what went wrong?
Energy 2030 conference
On Monday 24 June IPPR convened a high-level, half-day conference to bring together an audience of senior representatives from industry, government and civil society to share European perspectives on energy policy. The agenda focused on the European Commission's proposals for a post-2020 policy regime for energy and climate change.
Speakers included Caroline Flint MP, Labour's shadow secretary for energy and climate change, Teresa Ribera Rodriguez, former Spanish secretary of state for climate change, and Pernille Rosenkrantz-Theil, Danish MP and spokesperson on climate and energy.
The debate focused on the importance of EU cooperation to solve individual member states' collective ambitions of keeping the lights on, decarbonising our economies and doing so in an affordable way. The discussion called for a more intelligent package than the 2020 package with well designed targets rather than catchy slogans. There was also a call to ensure that structural reform of the emissions trading scheme and greater cooperation on interconnection, and carbon capture and storage became part of the package.
Questions around finance and public acceptability dominated the later sessions. The importance of policy certainty and finding a balance between public and private financing was discussed. So too was the need for politicians to provide more honest leadership on rising energy costs and companies to act more responsibly with regard to consumers.
- See our Facebook page for more photos from the event
Why a 2030 carbon target is good for consumers
IPPR's analysis compares the effects of different potential targets for reducing the carbon intensity of energy generation by 2030. These options include a 200g CO2/kWh target, as was considered in the Department of Energy and Climate Change's recent gas generation strategy, and a 50g CO2/kWh target, as is recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. The current rate is 486g CO2/kwh.
Differences in the present and future cost of gas, wind and other forms of energy generation mean that:
- Adopting an ambitious clean energy target (50g CO2/kWh) for the power sector in 2030 would not add costs to household energy bills.
- The target would in fact result in small savings for the economy of £163 million if gas prices rise in line with expectations, or £249 million if gas prices are higher than expected.
- Conversely, relying on more gas up to 2030 by building more gas-fired power stations (in line with a 200g CO2/kWh target) would cost consumers £312 million, or £478 million if gas prices are higher than expected – equivalent to £10–15 per household.
- Energy prices would also be more volatile with more gas. On a 200g CO2/kWh trajectory, energy costs could vary by as much as £229 per household; on a 50g CO2/kWh trajectory, energy costs are only likely to vary by around £51 per household.
IPPR makes submission on the energy bill
On Thursday 17 January, IPPR associate director for globalisation and climate change Will Straw gave evidence to the Energy Bill scrutiny committee.
- IPPR is concerned that the Energy Bill reduces the government's ambition on carbon emissions reduction by the power sector.
- To address this, we believe that a target to reduce the carbon intensity of the grid to 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 should be on the face of the bill.
- The Energy Bill misses an opportunity to improve Britain's unilateral carbon price floor (CPF) which we believe will increase fuel poverty, harm the competitiveness of domestic energy intensive industries, and fail to reduce global emissions.
- The energy bill should do more to improve energy efficiency for homes and businesses, which is by far the most effective way of bringing down consumers' energy bills and stimulating the economy. Greater ambition is also required to protect consumers from unnecessarily high bills.
Dieter Helm and Baroness Worthington on how to tackle climate change
IPPR welcomed Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at University of Oxford and author of The Carbon Crunch: How we're getting climate change wrong and how to fix it and Baroness Bryony Worthington, who came together to debate the most effective way to tackle climate change.
- Professor Dieter Helm's full presentation is available to download here.
Joint communique sets out progressive energy policy agenda
IPPR has worked together with energy companies, academics, consumer groups and environmental organisations to establish a common progressive agenda for energy policy.
The results of that work are published today in the attached communique.
Michael Zammit-Cutajar: on the achievements of global climate negotiations
Following his speech at IPPR, Michael Zammit-Cutajar, former UNFCCC secretary, explains how there has been a huge swing in which countries are the leaders in total carbon emissions: 10 years ago it was the US; now China is on par with the US in total carbon emissions and is 'shaping the game'.
Green jobs: IPPR's West Coast field trip
California has been at the vanguard of the green economy for decades and is home to many of the world's leading clean-tech industries. IPPR recently took a group interested in green job creation to San Francisco to learn about how the state's ambitious renewables targets and the efforts of business, investors and the Bay area's vibrant and energetic civil society had helped to create employment opportunities.
Our partners for the week were the Apollo Alliance, a nationwide coalition of business, environmentalists, trade unionists and grassroots activists working to build a clean energy revolution. Apollo has been successful in pushing the case for investment in and training for 'green jobs' with both the Bush and Obama administrations – most recently in the Stimulus Act of 2009.
One of our first meetings was with San Francisco state government official Phil Ting, who set up the San Francisco Solar Task Force and launched the city's first municipal solar energy incentive program, 'GoSolarSF', which aims to fit solar panels on 10,000 buildings in 10 years.
Phil told us about how profits from a city public hydro-power scheme have funded the $5 million-a-year scheme, which has provided jobs for local long-term unemployed workers and helped boost San Francisco's burgeoning solar industry.
The Bay area's ambitious and committed civil society has been at the forefront of efforts to build a progressive transition to a low carbon economy. Outside of super-affluent San Francisco are the suburbs of Richmond and Oakland, where we visited several projects working to develop green skills among low income communities.
Richmond BUILD is a training and pre-apprenticeship programme targeting largely young people from deprived neighbourhoods in Richmond. Known as a 'green jobs academy' it offers training in generic construction and electrical trade skills as well as areas like solar installation and energy efficiency.
The scheme started several years ago they were able to place 90 per cent of their graduates in a job, this has dropped to around 70 per cent due to the economic downturn. In a city where only just over a half of young people graduate from high school and around 50-60 per cent drop out altogether, this is still quite an achievement.
On the other side of town we visited Sunpower Corporation, a world leader in developing solar technology and manufacturer of the world's most efficient solar cells. Ed Smeloff, a Principal at Sunpower and adviser to the Apollo Alliance, explained how Sunpower is working to increase the competitiveness of solar power and create more jobs in the United States. The company has around 1000 workers in the United States, but the majority of its workforce is based in the Philippines.
A highlight of the week was a conference we held with the Apollo Alliance. 'Creating Good Green Jobs: An International Summit' included US leaders in the green jobs movement, our group and Canadian leaders in the environmental and trade union movements. Our co-hosts the Apollo Alliance blogged about the summit here.
One of the speakers, Kristin Spalding, of US-based CERES, talked about the value of building broad-based coalitions between business, the environmental movement, trade unions and community activists.
California was a fascinating place to visit: an unmistakable combination of world-beating, increasingly powerful green industry and a multitude of smart and passionate organisations determined for the green economy to be a better economy.
While job creation resulting from energy efficiency and renewable projects has taken longer than many hoped, the organisations we visited had achieved often surprisingly strong results in generating wider social as well as environmental returns on public and private investment.
We will be sharing our findings in a pamphlet and event in July. Keep an eye on our website for more details.