DECC have produced a statement from Nick Clegg and Ed Davey (Chris Huhne's successor) which is so far removed from reality it is hard to know where to start untangling it.
It's an argument in defence of higher emissions reduction targets and the carbon floor price, which is necessary according to Clegg & Davey, following the failure of the ETS mechanism, caused by the economic situation.
It's shouldn't be a surprise to learn that the planners of the ETS didn't anticipate economic downturns, which is to forget the advice that is attached to every advert for investment services.
Nick and Ed continue the daftness. If energy prices are up, in spite of demand being low, what is the need for a further incentive against energy use? The economic downturn and high prices are doing the job that the ETS was intended to do.
The most absurd claims made by the pair are that:
- 'the crashing price of carbon' is a ' a threat to our shared prosperity'
- 'The global low-carbon market ... supports over 900,000 jobs in Britain' and that 'those numbers can grow'.
- 'more ambitious [carbon reduction] targets will help grow our low-carbon industries, ensuring Europe's competitiveness in a fast-growing sector
- 'many business leaders recognise, the real risk is moving too slowly, not too fast.'
All of these statements are sheer bunk. The last of them is contradicted by an article in today's Guardian -- of all places.
The article reports that 'Andrew Shepherd-Barron, a specialist in the clean tech sector at brokers Peel Hunt, has just come up with a review of share price performances and describes the green scene as a "graveyard" for investors globally.'
Clegg and Davey are simply trying to rescue their fantasies from reality. Like Huhne, they believe they can simply pull policy levers to 'send signals to the market', and that it will obey. As the market has disobeyed, so they send louder signals. The problem for the rest of us is that we have to put up with the noise.