A Climate and Energy Guide to the Conservative Party Conference

A Climate and Energy Guide to the Conservative Party Conference
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Everyone’s really excited to see what the Conservative Party has to say about energy and climate this week, right? (We’re assuming so.)

The UK’s energy policy is all over the place, to say the least. Just last week the International Energy Agency warned governments “must not chop and change their political support for renewable energy”  (something the UK government could take note of).

And, with just eight weeks until the Paris climate conference, what our government does during this time will send a clear signal about its priorities.

So, without further ado, here’s DeSmog UK’s guide to what to expect regarding climate and energy at the Tory party conference this week.

Conference Schedule

On Monday afternoon the government will dedicate an hour and a half to “energy & climate change, communities & local government, and environment, food and rural affairs”.

As you might guess, in attendance will be Amber Rudd, secretary of state for energy and climate change, Greg Clark, secretary of state for communities and local government, and Liz Truss, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs.

Prime Minister David Cameron will then speak on Wednesday giving the conference’s closing remarks. We can only guess what he’ll say – if anything – on climate change.

Fringe Events

In addition to the formal schedule there are a slew of side events over the four-day conference.

Amber Rudd is set to appear at six energy-related events, at least, including those on topics such as energy in buildings, energy competition and lower household bills, consumers and energy policy, and how to promote the rise of independents in the UK’s energy sector.

And in what’s sure to be a hot-ticket event, Rudd will also be speaking on Monday afternoon about the future of nuclear energy. Joining her at the event, which is hosted by liberal conservatism think tank Bright Blue and the Nuclear Industry Association, will be former energy minister Charles Hendry and climate ‘lukewarmist’ Lord Matt Ridley.

Meanwhile, energy minister Andrea Leadsom is set to speak at four energy and climate events. The first of these which took place on Sunday evening asked: “Keeping the lights on: How can we ensure tackling climate change doesn’t damage UK energy security?”

Then, on Tuesday, she will speak at a very similar-sounding event on keeping the lights on at the lowest cost to the taxpayer.

Climate Deniers

Most interesting perhaps though is an event Leadsom is attending Tuesday night. It will be hosted by free market think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, and is on “New Foundations for a coherent energy policy”. It’s not the subject of the event so much as its sponsor that makes this one something to watch.  

Lord Vinson of Roddam Dene is sponsoring the event – just last year DeSmog UK revealed that Lord Vinson is a funder of climate denying charity the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

We’ve also spotted another event that is expected to prove quite interesting. Entitled “Powered Up? HMG’s Energy Policy – Right or Wrong?” the event hosted by free market think tank Politeia will see left- and right-leaning speakers debate the topic. Among these are energy and climate change Professor Kevin Anderson of the University of Manchester and climate denier MP Peter Lilley (who you might remember recently joined the GWPF in July).

So there you have it. A veritable hodge-podge of events that we will be covering. Stay tuned!

Photo: Number 10 via Flickr

A Climate and Energy Guide to the Conservative Party Conference
Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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