AMBER Rudd – what a name that is. Fossilised tree resin for a first name and a freshwater fish for a second. Connected with nature, or so it would seem. Perhaps that’s why they gave her the climate change brief.
Ms Rudd’s full title is Energy and Climate Change Secretary. Let’s just stop there for a moment. Lumping those two together seems wilful. After all, doesn’t the first cause the second? And if so, how can a minister have responsibility for both? She was on the radio yesterday, batted about in the day’s bulletins. And each time she came on a strange sound could be heard. That was me growling.
Here is part of what she said: “The Conservatives are committed to action on climate change and we are clear that our long-term economic plan goes hand in hand with a long-term plan for climate action. Climate action is about security, plain and simple – economic security.
“The economic impact of unchecked climate change would be profound. Lower growth, higher prices, a lower quality of life. It is the ultimate insurance policy.”
In short, it isn’t about climate change, it’s the economy, stupid. Yet surely the economic motors help to cause climate change, don’t they?
Now I don’t claim to be any sort of a Green. I have voted for the party once. I drive a big old car, trapped by circumstance in an ageing Volvo that is now bigger than we need (good old car, though) and thirstier than is sensible. I do like to cycle, and that’s as green as you can get.
But I can’t claim to be a Green evangelist or anything. Just someone who thinks that the more green energy we can generate, the better. Yet Ms Rudd and her party seem hell-bent on quickly doing away with as many green policies as possible – creating a bonfire of their past green vanities.
Onshore wind, solar energy, green homes, flogging off the green investment bank, reducing the incentive to buy a greener car, giving up on zero carbon homes – all this and more comes with an unhealthy obsession with old-style energy grabs such as fracking. Ms Rudd and her party seem happy to go about smashing up low-carbon policies, with the weasel excuse that the government has met its international climate obligations more or less. Even if that’s true, why stop there – and why not lead the way in green energy instead?
She also said that it could not be for one part of the political spectrum to find all the solutions – adding that too often energy change was seen from a left-wing perspective. Well, it wasn’t when David Cameron used to bang on about it all the time, but now that his party is in sole control of the government he seems happy to have kicked off the green wellies.
Solutions can come from many sources, as witnessed, say, by the efforts made by the motor industry to produce more fuel-efficient cars, hybrid cars and battery-powered cars. But governments set the mood music, and right now the Tories are reverting to climate-sceptic type and jamming their fingers in their ears while singing Money, Money, Money.