Al Gore joins in criticism of UK government rollback on green policy

Former US VP says he is “puzzled” by volte face on regulation.

Al Gore, the former US Vice President, has joined in criticism of policy rollback by the UK government on green finance saying the position of the UK Prime Minister was “puzzling” to him and listing regulations that have been cancelled by the government.
The critique is rare by a former politician of another country’s political situation. Gore, co-founder of Generation Investment Management, said he did not want to “interfere in the politics of another country”, but said he had been invited by David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, to address Ministers on climate change issues prior to national elections earlier this year, and had “heard pledges and commitments that inspired me.”
Consequently, he said: “I am puzzled that we have seen policy for zero carbon homes cancelled, support for solar and onshore wind weakened, the green deal cancelled, contract for difference terms for renewable energy cancelled, the Green Investment Bank announced for privatization.”
Asked if he felt the UK government had “betrayed” him, Gore said: “I would be tempted to use that word, but I use the word puzzled instead. My understanding is that well-meaning people have been persuaded not to pursue policies that they want to.” He said he hoped that the UK would change its position ahead of the COP21 conference in Paris in December.
Gore also noted that Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, had spoken about the risks of climate change to the UK economy: “The UK is over invested in fossil fuel assets: it’s a legacy of the industrial revolution. But when the Governor of your central bank raises questions of the viability of your economy because of sub prime carbon assets, he is expressing serious concern for the future of your economy.”Gore was speaking at an event in London today (September 22) hosted by Green Alliance, in association with the UK Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
John Cridland, the CBI Director General, also took a relatively controversial stance for the business lobby on government environmental policy, by saying that the “seemingly weakened commitment” on renewables was a risk to UK leadership on climate change. In a statement prior to the event, he said: “Today’s investors are more uncertain about the UK’s low-carbon future. From the roll-back of renewables to the mixed messages on energy efficiency, these changes [by the government since coming to power] send a worrying signal about the UK as a place for low-carbon investment.” He said the lost business opportunities could amount to hundreds of billions in overseas sales.
RI reported last week that a coalition of 13 investors, including Legal and General Investment Management, CCLA and the Church Commissioners, had written to the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer to express concerns over future renewables investment being put under risk by unsupportive government policy.
The letter, also sent to the UK’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Amber Rudd, warned that recent policy announcements on renewable power threatened previously secure cash-flows in the area. It highlighted the removal of the climate change levy exemption for renewable power and considerable cuts to subsidies for solar power. The letter says as the world heads towards climate negotiations in Paris the imperative to decarbonise the energy systems is growing and that a “low risk environment is important to ensure the cost of national infrastructure investment remains low”.