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Ministers accused of double standards

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The UK Government is facing claims of “hypocrisy” as talks continue at the Paris climate summit.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd is due to appear at the United Nations event today and will be holding talks with other nations about what can be done to address some of the pressing issues facing the international community.

But Great Britain has been accused of double standards for making impassioned speeches on the need for action, while pushing ahead with domestic energy policies which have drawn considerable criticism.

Craig Bennett, from Friends of the Earth, said: “The Government is totally hypocritical on climate change.

“George Osborne’s anti-environmental policy decisions on energy fly the opposite way to the low-carbon route the vast majority of other countries are pursuing.

“There is a total mismatch between his policies and the warm words of David Cameron.”

Ms Rudd arrives in Paris on the back of a ferocious row over the Government’s plans to cut subsidies to solar and wind power.

Last month the cabinet minister argued that the UK could no longer pursue green energy targets at all costs and said that future policy would need to balance the need to reduce emissions with “keeping the lights on.”

“Subsidy should be temporary, not part of a permanent business model. We need to provide a level playing field, where success is driven by your ability to compete in a market, not on your ability to lobby for subsidy,” she told an audience last month.

Unsurpsingly the approach has come in for fierce criticism from green groups, amid fears of the extra strain that accelerated degression will place on investment in renewable projects (as well as the UKs ability to meet its climate change targets).

What is conspicuously absent though from the Government’s “subsidy free” rhetoric is that at present no form of generation is investable based on the wholesale price (currently £40-45/MWh) alone. Investment in new Nuclear is being supported through the CfD and even fossil fuel power stations (e.g. gas, coal) receive support in the form of a capacity payment which brings revenues up to closer to £57 MWh.