Decarbonisation debate rages as Labour's Energy Bill amendment fails
A bid by Labour to add a decarbonisation target for 2030 to the Energy Bill was defeated in the House of Commons last night. The legislation passed through to committee stage.
The amendment was beaten by 279 votes to 206 despite widespread support for the proposal both within parliament and from business leaders and environmentalists outside it.
Tim Yeo, conservative MP and chair of the Energy and Climate Change Committee, voted with the government a day after saying he would lobby for just such a target. He had said he would introduce an amendment after the Bill's committee stage, towards the end of February, to restrict power plant carbon emissions in 2030 to less than 100 grams per kilowatt hour of electricity.
Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey admitted he was "sympathetic" to the arguments behind a 2030 decarbonisation target. But he voiced disappointment that Labour was not giving the Bill its full support.
He said the measures represented "a practical and a radical approach to reforming our electricity market" and would promote economic growth.
He added: "We need to pass this Energy Bill if Britain is to have a credible and ambitious energy and climate change policy".
Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint said Labour was challenging the legislation because it failed to include "a clear target to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, and because it fails to include direct measures to increase transparency, competition or liquidity or ensure that the energy market is properly regulated and works in the interests of consumers".