I am worried about losing the climate change function when the Department of Energy and Climate Change disappears. But at the same time I wonder whether we should consider it an important opportunity.
Over Decc’s short life renewable energy has grown to become a major industry and one with huge export potential. Maybe it does renewables no harm to be in an industry department – and maybe that will help energy efficiency take the step towards being recognised as an infrastructure issue.
What about climate change? The Decc tenure has seen some important steps taken in addressing low carbon and the energy industry has responded. Other sectors have not taken up the baton in the same way, as recent reports have shown. Maybe it’s time for the energy and especially electricity industries to stop making climate change all about us and start letting it spread.
Decarbonisation of transport has made a slow start and needs attention. Maybe we should have a Department for Transport and Climate Change.
Decarbonisation of heat has barely started and is a much bigger issue to crack than decarbonising electricity. Maybe we should have a Department for Communities, Local Government and Climate Change.
Abgriculture is another industry that has to be decarbonised. Do we need a Department for Environment, Food, Rural Affairs and Climate Change?
I could go on. The fact is climate change should be addressed in everything we do. That’s impractical – a previous government once set up a Sustainable Energy Policy Network with a raft of cabinet ministers at its launch, but even at the time it seemed unlikely they would all be able to make the next meeting.
No, climate change has to sit in a big department that has tentacles everywhere and clout to get its message across. Make it a Treasury responsibility to balance the carbon budget.