Making savings in climate change expenditure

Every Department of the United Kingdom government has to make savings. It is important to understand that this is a necessary process to secure future prosperity. I do not know (and frankly no one knows for sure) whether the Labour plan to spend our way out of recession or the Coalition plan to make savings is the best plan for the nation.

Fine decisions where the outcome is not certain are hard decisions. Often you have to look outside the immediate impact of the decision making to get the fullest picture.  In the case of savings of taxpayers’ expenditure I do know that market confidence and consumer confidence is very important. The herd mentality of markets should be taken into account. The markets in their herd will have more confidence in the United Kingdom if large savings are made and this is the critical factor which points the coalition into making savings right now.

If everyone recognises the need for savings, then most people prefer for savings to be made on things which do not affect them personally. Protecting the climate is in everyone’s interest, but few see it that way. Climate protection has not been immune from public expenditure savings and the Department of Energy & Climate Change has announced the following £85 million of savings from not implementing low carbon technology, closing down the Low Carbon Buildings Programme early cancelling part of the bio energy grants reducing geothermal grants and those for offshore wind turbines, reducing the government low carbon technology programme. Less than 8% of the savings have come from “efficiencies” in the Department and it seems that the Carbon Trust can manage with £12.5 million less. I rather suspect that the whole of the Carbon Trust’s budget compares rather poorly with the real actual carbon savings that the Carbon Trust can claim, but no doubt the Trust has its own story to tell on that.

DECC state that they will spend £150 million less on “low carbon” technologies this year, which means inevitably that emissions will rise and our energy will be more insecure. This is a budget cut that will directly increase emissions, and it seems that this is a price that we must pay for getting out of our present economic mess.

Like many countries and perhaps worse than most the United Kingdom has burdened its future inhabitants with massive levels of debt that their taxes will service for many generations. Today one quarter of government tax payer expenditure goes on debt and interest repayment. A fairly moets rise in interest rates could see half our taxes going to pay interest on the debt that has already been incurred, so savings in expenditure in order to repay as much debt as possible are logical.

If it is important not to burden future generations with debt which we incurred on our own selfish pleasures so it is logical that we must not, at all costs, create a climate change legacy for future generations.

Debt can always be written off, watered down through inflation or the nation can simply go bankrupt and start again. A climate change legacy is not so easy to get rid of, is more expensive to control than debt, and has more devastating consequences than over spending. There is, for climate change no inflation that will lessen its impact and bankruptcy is not available as a cure.

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