Was ‘Green Day’ a success? Former UK Energy and Climate Secretary Chris Huhne weighs in
edie's #SustyTalk series of exclusive interviews continues with Chris Huhne, former UK Energy and Climate Secretary (2010-2012) and now chair of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).
#SustyTalk is all about keeping edie’s loyal readers connected to sustainability leaders across the world, whilst reminding us all that sustainability and climate action must go on through the current Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. It launched in the early stages of the pandemic in 2020 and has continued since then, keeping us connected to the leaders who are continuing to drive sustainability and climate action.
This latest #SustyTalk episode is part of edie’s 25th anniversary celebrations. edie launched in 1998, making us older than Google. We have dedicated exclusive features and interviews over the past two weeks to recapping on 25 years of seismic shifts for the sustainable business movement, and will continue to do so this spring and summer.
But it is also important to consider the ever-evolving policy landscape in which these shifts are taking place.
To help us recap on the passage of the UK’s Climate Change Act in 2008, its evolution of that Act to include net-zero in 2019, and everything in between that may have helped or hindered delivery, we sat down with Chris Huhne, former UK Energy and Climate Secretary and now chair of the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA). Former Lib Dem MP Huhne served as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change under the coalition Government between 2010 and 2012.
Huhne is on hand to document how the UK went from being perceived as a climate leader, in the noughties and 2010s, to risking losing its credibility with its unlawful Net-Zero Strategy in 2022. He also provides more detailed reflections on missed opportunities to accelerate the energy transition and create an agricultural sector that is low-carbon, circular and does not degrade nature.
Some of these missed opportunities came on the Government’s recent ‘Green Day’ or ‘Energy Security Day’ of announcements. Almost 3,000 pages of policy documents were published on 30 March, largely in relation to energy security and green finance. Yet, few bold changes were confirmed, with much of what was published reiterating existing policy or pledging future consultations.
Huhne says: “I would love to believe that we are still heading, at speed, towards meeting the targets. I’m afraid that all of the checks that have been done by official bodies like the Climate Change Committee and others suggest that there is still a widening gap between the government’s promises and, indeed, [its] legislative commitments and delivery under the Climate Change Act.
“There’s been no shortage of promises… but that’s not what we need. What we need is action.
“The difficulty with all of these announcements, particularly if you combine them with what was announced in the Budget, is that a lot of the good things that the Government has committed to are actually slated to happen way out in the future, way after any likely any general election.”
Want to be featured on a future episode of #SustyTalk? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please bear in mind that our interview calendar is typically booked several weeks in advance.