Cut out the carbon! Tory MP Tim Yeo turns up the heat on energy industry

Chair of the cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee issues warning ahead of vote on 2030 deadline for 'decarbonised' electrity supply

Environment Editor

The Tory MP Tim Yeo has warned that Britain's entire strategy to tackle climate change could unravel unless Parliament passes a crucial vote tomorrow to make the country's electricity supply almost entirely green by 2030.

Furthermore, by delaying vital action to tackle global warming, Britain is greatly increasing the eventual cost of dealing with it, said Mr Yeo, who has tabled an amendment to the Energy Bill currently passing through Parliament that would force suppliers to significantly "decarbonise" their electricity generation over the next 17 years.

"Decarbonising the power sector is supposed to be the cornerstone of the government's climate change strategy," said Mr Yeo, who is chair of the cross-party Energy and Climate Change Committee.

"Failure to decarbonise the power sector now could mean future governments are forced into more drastic and expensive action to constrain emissions later as the problems caused by climate destabilisation become more acute," Mr Yeo told The Independent.

He wouldn't put a figure on the likely cost of delay, although a report from the Climate Change Committee a fortnight ago said that swift and decisive action to largely decarbonise the electricity supply could save customers as much as £100bn between 2020 and 2050.

Today's vote is likely to be close, with more than 250 MPs thought to have signalled their intention to back the amendment, which needs 321 votes to be passed. It will put a spotlight on tensions within the coalition over energy policy. The Liberal Democrats want a decarbonisation target to be included in the Energy Bill and to apply from next year, while Mr Osborne, the Tory chancellor is pushing to defer any decision until 2016.

Mr Davey pushed to have the decarbonisation target included in the first draft of the Energy Bill, but was overruled by Mr Osborne. This puts him in the interesting position of having to vote against an amendment which he agrees with because he can't go against the government's official position - as laid out in the original version of the Energy Bill.

Mr Davey said: "We have listened to views and added a clause to enable us to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector in 2016. No political party had this issue in their manifesto, and this will be a world first, an issue that this Coalition government has addressed head on."

Separately, Mr Davey stepped up his campaign to address climate scepticism yesterday, aiming his fire at the media.

"Some sections of the press are giving an uncritical campaigning platform to individuals and lobby groups who reject outright the fact that climate change is the result of human activity," he said.

"This is not the serious science of challenging, checking and probing. This is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, publicity seeking contraversialism or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness," he added.

Today's vote comes in the week after a new report showed the volume of carbon emissions from producing energy rose more in the UK last year than in any other country in Europe.

The report from the EC's statistics agency found that Britain's CO2 emissions jumped by 18m tonnes, or 3.9 per cent, in 2012, as the falling price of coal price of coal prompted energy generators to switch much of their production from relatively-clean gas to dirtier coal.

Voices
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US
voicesRobert Fisk: Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script
Arts and Entertainment
Loaded weapon: drugs have surprise side effects for Scarlett Johansson in Luc Besson’s ‘Lucy’
filmReview: Lucy, Luc Besson's complex thriller
Arts and Entertainment
tvExecutive says content is not 'without any purpose'
News
A cleaner prepares the red carpet for the opening night during the 59th International Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2006 in Cannes, France.
newsPowerful vacuum cleaners to be banned under EU regulations
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
sportLeague Managers' Association had described Malky Mackay texts as 'friendly banter'
News
A polar bear’s diet is rich in seal blubber and half of its own body weight is composed of fat
i100
News
peopleCareer spanned 70 years, including work with Holocaust survivors
News
people
Travel
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
News
London is the most expensive city in Europe for cultural activities such as ballet
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson has rejected criticisms of his language, according to BBC director of television Danny Cohen
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Central London - £45,000-£55,000 + bonus

£45000 - £55000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: The focus of this is to deve...

Application Support - Enterprise Java, SQL, Oracle, SQL Server

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A well-established financial soft...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Desktop, Surrey)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Graduate, Helpdesk, Deskto...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape