David Cameron is due to appear before a select committee this week and will face questions relating to the government energy and climate change policies. It is thought he will be asked to explain why schemes that cut emissions have been scrapped despite the recent pledge at the Paris climate summit.
Questions on energy policy
The Commons Liaison Committee is made up of MPs from various select committees and features Huw Irranca-Davies from Labour and Angus McNeil from SNP who will question Cameron on energy policies. In particular the decision to axe the carbon capture and storage project (CCS) promised in the Conservative manifesto will be under scrutiny.
The CCS was touted as the holy grail of the fossil fuel industry by the Tories and was to be championed with a £1 billion competition for a large scale trial. This would have established if it could be made to work financially and could have allowed coal and gas to be used for energy into the future – but without damage to the environment. It was thought to be an essential part of meeting the commitments made at the Paris climate summit.
Mr McNeil has said that the decision to scrap this CCS project was incomprehensible and that these sorts of sudden changes to policy were undermining investor confidence. He points out that if the government continues to build a new generation of gas plants it is essential to have some means of capturing and storing the emissions. Irranca-Davies agreed that there is a gulf between the talk of the government and their actions – leading to incoherence and short-termism.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change has said that difficult decisions had to be made due to finances and that the CSS project still had a potential role in the future.