UK Minister of State for the Cabinet Office Oliver Letwin

In the news – 6 October 2010 – Australian Opposition leader Tony Abbott may be an avowed staller on climate change action. But this week during his trip to the UK to attend the Conservative Party conference he was treated to an outline of exactly how his English counterparts were planning to tackle climate change and bring on a low carbon economy. Day two of the conference, officially titled “green growth day”,  saw Minister of State for the Cabinet Office Oliver Letwin outline plans to accelerate the roll out of smart meters, a renewable heat incentive, stable carbon price and a Green Investment Bank.

Mr Letwin also outlined  plans to continue support for feed-in tariffs and incentives for electric cars and plug in hybrids, according to Britain’s The Guardian.

The plans are part of the Government’s “Green Deal”, which aims to live up to Prime Minister David Cameron’s campaign promise that his government would be the “greenest ever.” The measures are due to be introduced to Parliament before the end of the year, with Mr Letwin stating that they will introduce a “new, radical way of making energy efficiency affordable to all, reducing household energy bills at no upfront cost to the householder. It will hugely reduce the energy demands of Britain’s households and create a whole new industry – with new jobs in every part of the country.”

Mr Letwin said that establishing a carbon price will spur green investment and that smart meters and feed-in tariffs will change the way heat energy  is supplied and used.

“Our transformation of the climate change levy into a proper carbon price will pave the way for low carbon power stations, including a new generation of self-financing nuclear power. Our Green Investment Bank will support the next generation of British green technology investment – helping to re-balance the economy and generate new jobs and economic growth across the UK.

“Our smart grid and the roll out of smart meters will transform the way energy is supplied and used. Our incentive for renewable heat will bring forward the generation of heat from waste and other renewable sources – a crucial part of cutting carbon and maintaining energy security.

“Our system of feed-in tariffs will encourage micro-generation, stimulate diversity and decentralisation of our power supply, and turn hundreds of thousands of houses into sources of energy,” said Mr Letwin.

He also announced plans for transportation, including support for electric cars and a high-speed rail link.

“Our support for electric cars and plug-in hybrids means that Britain is now the natural home-base for a new growth industry, which will begin to cut the link between cars and carbon.

“Our high-speed rail network will bring Birmingham and London into the same travel-to-work area, and provide a real low carbon alternative to the aeroplane,” he said.

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