Margaret Beckett – 2006 Speech in Berlin

MargaretBeckett

Below is the text of a speech made by the then Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, on the 23rd October 2006 at the British Embassy in Berlin.

Good morning and welcome to the British Embassy. It is a pleasure to be here in Germany and to have the chance to speak to such a gathering of foreign policy practitioners.

I chose Berlin to make a strategic speech on foreign policy after a few months in this post for two reasons.

The first reason is that I want to talk today about the changing face of foreign policy: and there could be no more potent symbol of that than this city itself.

When the walls came tumbling down that November evening seventeen years ago, the world changed. And those whose job it was to comment, understand and shape that world had to change too.

The old skills of cold war analysis – understanding foreign policy in a bipolar world – were still valued and necessary. But as the long-standing power blocks fractured and reformed, new skills, new knowledge had to be added.

And in the time since the collapse of those political barriers we have also seen an erosion of the barriers of distance and of time: a technological revolution – quieter and less visible perhaps– but no less startling and no less fundamental.

Ten years ago, I had never sent an email. I suspect that I am not alone in that. The internet was not a daily part of our lives. Over in Britain we had four television channels – and two of those shut down for the night.

Today the way we live our lives has changed beyond all recognition. No serious commentator now can hope to make sense of the world if he or she does not grasp how that world has been transformed by rolling news coverage and the instant sharing and transfer of information across borders.

Take Islamist terrorism. It is the internet which is such a vital tool not only for planning and financing attacks but for radicalisation and recruitment. And it is from 24-hour news channels that the terrorists draw much of their power to shock and to intimidate.

That same technology not only flashed images of the tsunami around the world but also enabled huge amounts of money to be raised in record time.

So foreign policy has never been a static profession: it has always meant being part of an evolving process in which we seek to deepen and broaden our understanding of a changing world.

Today, nowhere is that change more significant and relevant to what we do than the threat of massive and dangerous disruption to our global climate

The basic science of climate change is no longer in dispute.

But what we have been hearing over the past weeks and months is that the scale and urgency of the challenge we face is worse than we had feared.

Last month, the British Antarctic Survey and the US National Snow and Ice Data Center both reported that polar ice was breaking up faster than glaciologists had thought possible.

And NASA scientists warned that another decade without a reduction in emissions and it will probably be impossible to avoid catastrophic effects of climate change.

Earlier this month we saw the UK’s foremost authority on climate impacts, the Met Office Hadley Centre, present new and worrying data on the likely extent of climate-induced desertification and extreme drought conditions.

It is now clear that tackling climate change is an imperative not a choice, a problem for today not tomorrow.

When I became Foreign Secretary, I made responding to this threat – I call it achieving climate security – a new strategic international priority for the United Kingdom.

I am in no doubt – and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was in no doubt when he offered me the job – that today being a credible foreign minister means being serious about climate security.

Because the question for foreign policy is not just about dealing with each crisis as it hits us. Our obligation to our citizens is to put in place the conditions for security and prosperity in a crowded and interdependent world.

An unstable climate will make it much harder for us to deliver on that obligation.

This is why.

The foreign policy community has long understood that the stability of nations is to no small degree predicated on the security of individuals.

When people are exposed to the stresses caused by overpopulation, resource scarcity, environmental degradation, as they feel the security upon which they and their families depend progressively slipping away, so we see the slide down the spectrum from stability to instability.

What should concern us here in the foreign policy community is that an unstable climate will place huge additional strain on these tensions which we spend our time trying to resolve. They are already at breaking point and climate change has the potential to stretch them far beyond it.

Take food security – the ability of people to have enough to eat. In simple terms climate change will bring more frequent and more prolonged famines. Studies suggest that temperature rises of just 2-3 degrees will see crop yields in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia fall by as much as 30 to 40 per cent. It’s a similar story in China.

Access to fresh water – water security – is already a problem across the globe. Climate change will make it worse. One billion people in the South Asian sub-continent are likely to be suffer from a reduction in Himalayan melt-water and changes to the monsoon. The Middle East and Central Asia will both see significantly less rain.

And then there is energy security – vital not just for keeping the economies of the developed world running but also – crucially – for giving the developing world the means to lift itself out of poverty. Climate change threatens this too. An increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events will threaten port and drilling facilities across the world.

And it’s not just storms that we need to worry about. Melting permafrost will damage energy infrastructure – pipelines – in Russia. Melting glaciers in the Himalaya threaten India’s plans to increase hydro-electric capacity. Plus there is the danger of increased instability in key producing regions like the Middle East.

No wonder that last week Kofi Annan said, and I quote: “Action on climate change is particularly urgent, given its profound implications for virtually every aspect of human well-being, from jobs and health to growth and security”.

We in Europe should be in no doubt that how the world responds to climate change matters as much to us as to anyone.

Look at those things that are highest on the European agenda – strong borders, poverty reduction, the risks of conflict and international terrorism, energy security, jobs and growth. Get our response right to climate change and our ability to deal with all of these is enhanced. Get it wrong and our efforts across the board will be undermined.

Take immigration. If people find their homes permanently flooded they will have to up sticks and move. Simple as that. One study suggests that a sea-level rise of just 50 centimetres – half the most optimistic estimates – will displace two million people from the Nile Delta. A one metre rise will displace 25 million in Bangladesh. Environmental degradation is already driving economic migration out of sub-Saharan Africa and onto Europe’s shores.

By tackling climate change we can lessen the push factors driving immigration. If we don’t tackle it, we have to brace ourselves for populations shifts on a scale we have never seen before.

Or take conflict. Wars fought over limited resources – land, fresh water, fuel – are as old as history itself. By drastically diminishing those resources in some of the most volatile parts of the world, climate change creates a new and potentially catastrophic dynamic.

The Middle East is a case in point. Five per cent of the world’s population already has to share only one per cent of the world’s water. Climate change will mean there is even less water to go round. Current climate models suggest that – globally – Saudi, Iran and Iraq will see the biggest reductions in rainfall. Egypt – a pivotal country for regional stability – will suffer a double blow. Drastic loss of Nile flow from the South and rising sea-levels in the North destroying its agricultural heartland across the delta.

The same pattern emerges elsewhere.

South Asia. Migration into the Indian state of Assam from Bangladesh is already causing tension. Climate change will make this worse.

Central Asia. Nations increasingly at odds over water rights.

The added stresses of climate change increase the risk of fragile states dropping over the precipice into civil war and chaos. And it edges those countries that are not currently at risk into the danger zone.

In short, a failing climate means more failed states.

And that has implications for everything we want to achieve from conflict prevention and resolution to counter-terrorism.

By tackling climate change we can help address the underlying securities that feed and exacerbate conflicts and instability. By ignoring it we resign ourselves to the same crises flaring up again and again. And new ones emerging.

So climate change is not an alternative security agenda. It is a broadening and deepening of our understanding as to how we best tackle that existing agenda.

And whether and how we respond to climate change potentially has an even broader read across to global political stability. Levels of trust between North and South are already at a low ebb, not least because of the lack of progress on the Doha Development Round.

These gaps will only widen if and when the impacts of climate change start to take hold. Because it is the developed world which has had historically high levels of greenhouse gas emissions but it is the developing world – those least able to cope – which will be hit first and hit hardest.

So here too the choice is clear. Work together on a shared challenge that bridges traditional divides and engenders new trust. Or risk a further polarisation of the international community.

But what do I mean when I say that we must tackle climate change?

One thing is clear. We will have to face the shared dilemma at the heart of the debate on climate change.

We all have an interest in continuing economic growth. We all want to see the developing world lift itself out of poverty. But at the moment that growth and development is being driven by the burning of the fossil fuels which cause climate change.

In other words, the very process which is making people’s lives better across the world today is destroying their future.

But the choice between economic growth and a stable climate is a false one.

We have to have both. And we can have both.

Later this month we will see the most detailed and comprehensive study ever undertaken into the economics of climate change. In it, the UK’s Chief Economist and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Nick Stern, will show that climate change will have a potentially devastating effect on the economies of developed and developing countries.

But that same study will also show that moving to a low-carbon global economy does not mean sacrificing economic growth or condemning people to poverty.

Indeed if we take this road, it is not only affordable: it offers huge opportunities for us all.

For developing countries, an opportunity to be in on the ground floor of a reconfiguration of the global economy. It means that they can leap-frog old technologies and produce new fuels and advanced technologies for others. It means better health through lower pollution. And it will provide them with the clean, affordable energy they need to keep growing.

For us here in Europe, it is key to hitting another two of those priorities which I listed a moment ago.

It reinforces our energy security: addressing fuel poverty and reducing our reliance on imported hydrocarbons. In turn that opens the door to more stable strategic partnerships with key energy suppliers around the world. And it means that we can forge more constructive relations with other major economies in our dealings with some third-party countries: encouraging China to take a deeper and longer-term interest in improving governance in Africa is just one example.

It also reconnects the governments of Europe to their citizens. Not only by taking decisive action on an issue which – as every opinion poll shows – they care deeply about. But also by providing the jobs and growth which we have promised and which we have put at the heart of the European agenda.

Here in Germany it is estimated that the renewable energy sector has already created 170 000 jobs and 16 billion Euros in turnover. Industries offering climate protection technologies are growing faster, exporting more and creating more jobs than the broader market.

It’s the same story in my country. Last week, the British oil company, BP published a study showing that responding to climate change is a £30 billion business opportunity for British companies over the next decade.

So taking action on climate change is not just an imperative. It is an opportunity.

And yet, in fact, we are dangerously behind the curve. We are on a direct path to climate chaos.

In the past I have spoken of the need for a globalisation of responsibility. The need to build a politics of interdependence in which we define ourselves by what we hold in common, not by what divides us.

But when it comes to our inaction on climate change our generation is in danger of global irresponsibility on a massive and irreversible scale.

I make no bones about the fact that the challenge we face is a big one.

The International Energy Agency estimates that US$20 trillion will be spent in the energy sector between now and 2030. We must use that money to transform the very foundations of how we live: how we generate and consume power, how we move around, and how we use land.

Most of the US$20 trillion will be from the private sector. But a stable climate is a global public good: and that makes it a responsibility of governments to put in place the conditions that will achieve it.

Our task is nothing less than to build the biggest public-private partnership ever conceived. We must construct the mutually reinforcing frameworks of incentives and penalties, of opportunities and burdens equitably shared, that will drive private capital towards low carbon solutions. And these frameworks will need to be built simultaneously at every level – national, regional and global.

That needs the widest possible political coalition. And that is what makes it our problem too. This is not just an environmental problem. It is a defence problem. It is a problem for those who deal with economics and development, conflict prevention, agriculture, finance, housing, transport, innovation, trade and health.

Building that coalition is a challenge for the whole world: from consumers to the heads of government.

But I am making this speech here today because I want to lay down that challenge to three groups in particular.

First, it is a challenge to the foreign policy community.

Climate change is a serious threat to international security. So achieving climate security must be at the core of foreign policy.

All of us here have to pick up the pace.

I went to the G8+5 meeting in Monterrey earlier this month. It was a good meeting. But most of the ministers there were environmental ministers. It is our responsibility to make sure that this is something that heads of state, energy ministers, foreign ministers, and defence ministers are discussing regularly and at the highest level.

At every level – UN, G8 or EU – one of our top-line objectives must be to make real, concrete progress on climate change.

We need the political resources of foreign policy to create a shared vision for the future. We need to use the expertise of those in this room – and beyond – to build coalitions, to set agendas and to make multilateral institutions work.

It is foreign policy practitioners who can help impress upon a national and domestic consciousness the international imperative of climate change.

Second, it is a challenge for the European Union.

We are the world’s biggest single market.

We have a budget – more than 120 billion Euros a year – that gives us the ability to drive progress in the areas that will define the global response to climate change: research and development, advanced technologies, renewable energy, energy efficiency.

In short, we have the intellectual capacity, the technological capability and the resources not just to steer the global debate on climate change but also to drive global action.

That is what the European Union is for. That is what makes it relevant to its people. Europe has already achieved so much on the environment: more than any country could ever have done on its own.

Now we must make climate security one of Europe’s greatest priorities.

That is why I have put Europe at the heart of my strategy on climate change.

It is why at Lahti European Leaders clearly stated that the EU had to be strong leaders in tackling climate change.

Others have responsibilities too – of course. But we should not use that as an excuse to lower our own ambitions. So for example:

Strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme by putting charges on airlines as early as 2008 and progressively tightening caps beyond 2012.

Forging deeper and broader energy partnerships with China, India and others to set the technology standards for a global low carbon economy

Agreeing to invest more on renewables

Putting the Commission proposals on energy efficiency into action

Moving as soon as possible to zero emissions fossil fuel plants within the EU.

Accelerating the demonstration and deployment of carbon capture and storage.

And the energy security papers that the UK and other European countries are now preparing will be key and must reflect the full extent of our ambition.

Third it is a challenge to Germany. And that is the second reason why I chose Berlin, now to make this speech.

It is why David Milliband, the Environment Secretary was here a few days ago. And why the theme of the recent State Visit was climate change.

Of all the countries in the world it is Germany which at this moment matters most.

What you do right here, right now during your dual presidencies in the next six and twelve months is pivotal.

There is no point in us sitting down to discuss what we are going to do five or ten years down the line. It will already be too late.

It will be up to you whether Europe delivers on the agenda I have just outlined.

It will be up to you whether the G8 can galvanise broader global action.

We will support you.

We need a more specific, better co-ordinated and large scale project to accelerate development and introduction of clean coal technology – before China builds a new generation of power plants.

We are ready to work with you on a concrete proposal to come out of your twin presidencies.

I know that you are keen to do something specific on degradation of the rainforests. We stand ready to be a partner.

So we will support you. But you must lead.

It is you here in Germany that have the economic clout and the diplomatic and moral authority to make a significant difference now.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

One hundred and fifty years ago Bismarck famously remarked: “The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood.”

Today I contend that the exact opposite is true.

The greatest security threat we face as a global community won’t be met by guns and tanks. It will be solved by investment in the emerging techniques of soft power – building avenues of trust and opportunity that will lead to a low-carbon economy.

There is no backstop: politics and diplomacy have to work.

Bismarck was famous for another thing too. He was the first European statesman to recognise that if you wanted to sustain economic growth, you had to invest in the conditions that underpinned that growth.

Bismarck’s concern was for social conditions at the national level: it led him to lay the foundations of the welfare state system that underpins modern Europe.

Today our concern is wider. The threat we face is to the most basic conditions underpinning our global society.

We too must invest in our future. Or risk losing it.

The baton has passed to Germany. Please don’t drop it.

Beckett, Margaret – 2005 Speech to NFU Conference

MargaretBeckett

Below is the text of a speech made by the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett, on 21st February 2005 at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

Introduction

1. It has already been said a couple of times that 2005 will be a watershed year. Certainly it will bring momentous change to the farming industry. But I would like to see it as a turning point. Four years ago Defra was created in the middle of the FMD crisis. This year we set out on a new road to create a sustainable and prosperous future for British farming.

2. The foundations for such a sustainable future have been laid. This year we will see the first year of applications for the new Single Payment Scheme, the introduction – as Tim [Bennett – president of the NFU] said a moment ago – of the new Environmental Stewardship Scheme and later in the year the Whole Farm Approach, all vital building blocks of our Sustainable Farming and Food Strategy.

3. And while all this change takes place at home, on the international stage, the UK will hold presidencies of the G8 and the EU, and will be working hard to secure real progress in the WTO negotiations. So our agriculture policy is developing in not just an international but a global context.

4. Looking back on these four years, there is much of which Britain’s farming community – and not least those who represent it in the NFU – can be rightly proud. I may as well say to this audience what I say to agriculture Ministers and politicians across the world – that you were well ahead of the game in recognising, not just that the CAP had to change, which seems to have taken some people longer – but the nature of that change. And across the EU there are growing signs of other farming organisations following where the NFU has led. And while there are – and will remain – many difficult issues – including some which Tim touched on – I do detect a growing self-confidence amongst many farmers and an increasing willingness to innovate, to take measured risks and to grasp the benefits from changing market opportunities. At the same time I also see evidence that farmers are increasingly conscious of the importance of sustainable development and of their crucial role in safeguarding the rural environment.

CAP reform & Single Payment Scheme

5. Clearly the biggest immediate change for every farmer is the introduction of the Single Payment Scheme. Application forms will be sent to you in early April. I cannot stress too highly the importance of your members completing and returning these forms on time. It is never easy but it will never be more crucial. After all, in this – the first year of operation – they will be activating claiming payments, but also activating entitlements for this and future years. So please remind all your colleagues the deadline for applications is 16 May.

6. Defra and the RPA are currently running a series of events for farmers around the country at which our experts will be on hand to provide details of the application process and to try and answer your questions. These events will be running until 22 March; there are still places available and I would strongly urge as many as possible to go along.

7. Moving from ten different production-dependent subsidy regimes, many paid quarterly, to one single decoupled payment paid after the end of the year will mean, once the system is bedded in, a clearer and much simplified system. But the change-over inevitably brings its problems. The first year will be more complex but subsequent years will be hugely easier. And in moving to the new system I do recognise that for many there will be cash flow problems as well. The payment window runs from 1 December 2005 to 30 June 2006, but as you know – and as Tim recognised -the RPA recently announced that payments are likely to be made from February 2006. I will not disguise from you my deep disappointment that we cannot bring in the new system earlier.

8. The February date is based on our best estimates for implementing the new scheme and assuring that the payments are accurate and valid. We will keep farmers and their advisers up to date with proposed payment dates so business plans and forward profiles can take account of cash flow and we will shortly be approaching the banks, I hope together with the NFU, to see how best they can support farmers through this period.

9. My Ministers and I recognise our responsibility to do everything we possibly can to ensure that if any payment can be made it is as early as possible.

10. These new payments reflect the new context of agricultural support.

11. Decoupling support from production means that farmers will be freer than for decades: free to produce for the market and not simply for subsidy, free from the levels of bureaucracy required for the many production-linked subsidy schemes and free to decide how their own skills can be used to best effect.

12. I fully realise that not all individual farmers will find the transition easy. For some there may be painful decisions. Some may leave the industry as it restructures, perhaps even after generations of farming.

13. Some areas and some sectors are bound to come out of the change better than others. That happens in any period of transition and even though the majority will benefit from the freedom to pursue the market rather than the subsidy, some will find it difficult to adapt.

14. There may be problems particularly for tenant farmers if landowners try to take advantage of the changing subsidy system by changing leases or succession arrangements – and I recognise in government we have a responsibility to help avoid abuse there. But overall we are moving away from an era of dependency and depression to one of challenge and fresh opportunity.

Environmental Stewardship

15. The crucial role farmers play in protecting and enhancing the environment – landscape, wildlife, soils, water and other natural resources – on 70% of England’s land area is becoming much more evident to the people at large. The very best of farming has shown for decades what can be achieved in the normal course of business, and – as again Tim mentioned – next week I will be launching our new Environmental Stewardship scheme. Within that scheme is a new concept for this country – Entry Level Stewardship. It is a simple, flexible scheme with a menu of options that can be used by all farm sectors. We piloted the scheme in four areas in 2003 and the evaluation was very encouraging. It was popular with farmers, simple to understand and relatively cheap to run. The experts agreed too, that it would deliver the environmental outcomes we want across a much wider area than with existing schemes.

16. And where production-linked subsidies attracted criticism and opposition, public attitude surveys show that most people do support the concept of paying farmers to protect and even regenerate habitats and landscapes – public money for things the public wants but the market will not reward.

Competitiveness

17. But obviously production for the market will remain your primary role. Since the lows of 2000, we have seen a welcome rise in farm incomes despite the most recent dip. Farm incomes reflect so many factors, price volatility, exchange rates, let alone the weather. But that is why it is so important to get farm businesses on to a long-term competitive footing, so that they will be able as other businesses must and do, to adapt to market fluctuations and to be ready to seize opportunities as they arise.

18. That is why we have been supporting initiatives such as the Food Chain Centre, which has been working with industry bodies to identify scope for efficiencies within the food chain; to promote benchmarking; to encourage the spread of best practice; and to investigate the benefits of information sharing.

19. Similarly, English Farming and Food Partnerships has been set up with Government support, to promote and encourage collaboration and co-operation between farmers, and between farmers and the rest of the food chain.

20. We are also working with and supporting industry forums for the red meat, dairy and cereals sectors to help them improve their competitiveness and identify solutions to the challenges they face.

21. Each of these bodies has received support from the Agriculture Development Scheme. They are not of course alone. Since 2000 we have awarded almost £14million under this scheme and so successful has it been that we are planning to boost the budget by an extra £3million over the next three years so that we can continue to fund projects that will help farmers and primary producers in England become more competitive and market orientated.

Farm Business Advice

22. I recognise too that farmers may need help to take full advantage of the opportunities of the Single Payment Scheme for restructuring, diversification, collaboration or other business change. That is why we have recently announced that we will be launching a new advice service to help farmers get to grips with the business implications of CAP reform. That service will replace the current Farm Business Advice Service and will be launched later this year. It should ensure that over the next 18 months to two years, farmers across England have access to specialist support to help them consider their options for the future.

23. One of the potential advantages of the Single Payment Scheme is its potential to reduce bureaucracy, although of course it will require meeting certain basic standards.

24. But alongside the Scheme itself we have been developing the ‘Whole Farm Approach’, to further reduce bureaucracy and help farmers to both understand and plan for regulatory compliance, including rationalising inspections. Phased delivery of the Approach will begin with the roll out of electronic Appraisal in September of this year.

Supermarket Code of Practice / Buyers Charter

25. I want now to touch on a couple of issues where I know that you have particular concerns. The first is the perennial issue of the relationship of farmers and the supermarkets. The Government is very aware of suppliers’ concerns about the effectiveness of the Code of Practice and again Tim touched on this in his speech. That is why we encouraged the OFT to review it’s operation. The Code is of course a formal remedy to a very specific adverse finding by the Competition Commission, which applied only to the then four largest supermarkets, and to a limited range of practices they engaged in when dealing with their immediate suppliers.

26. The OFT has since commissioned a focussed audit of the supermarkets dealings with suppliers, which I believe it hopes to publish within the next few weeks. I can assure you that the Government will consider the findings of such a report, and any recommendations that the OFT may make, very carefully. Supermarkets have to recognise that in the long run they and their customers need a sustainable UK based supply chain, and that it is not in their long-term interests to squeeze suppliers to the point of elimination.

27. But while the Government is keen that the Code should operate effectively, it is not the only possible way forward. Tim referred to the work the NFU is doing to develop a voluntary Buyers Charter that would apply throughout the food chain. We welcome this initiative and would encourage all sections of the food chain, whether they be retailers, processors or manufacturers, to work positively with the NFU to develop the proposal.

Bovine TB and Badgers

28. The second issue on which I want to touch is another perennial issue – but let’s hope not forever – bovine TB. Over the past year we have been working with farmers, vets and wildlife interests and will launch next week a new 10-year strategic framework for the control of the disease.

29. Bovine TB causes real hardship to farmers in high incidence areas. Other parts of the country do not have TB. It is particularly in these areas where farmers must take responsibility for reducing the risks of introducing disease through cattle movements. We have established a farmer-chaired stakeholder group to develop a practical proposal for pre-movement testing and I look forward to their report shortly.

30. We work continually to improve TB controls and in November 2004 we announced new cattle surveillance measures to reduce the risk of the disease spread.

31. But of course, wildlife, particularly badgers, do also pose a risk. We will be prepared to consider badger culling if the evidence supports this as a cost-effective, proportionate and sustainable contribution to disease control.

32. I welcome the report of the Irish Four Area Culling Trial, and we are now considering independent scientific advice on the significance of those findings for Great Britain. The results, along with emerging evidence from our own culling trial will make an important contribution to the evidence base on which decisions will be made. The new TB strategy will provide a transparent process for assessing all the strands of evidence and I hope an effective partnership between Government, industry and others will be key to tackling TB effectively.

Further CAP reform

33. As I said at the outset, UK agriculture has as always an international and global context. So I am delighted to welcome today our new Agriculture Commissioner, and to say a little about these global issues. While the CAP reforms of June 2003 and April 2004 covered the bulk of subsidies, they did not extend to all sectors.

34. And a major remaining challenge will be reform of the EU Sugar Regime, and particularly reform to achieve agreement in time to contribute to the Doha Round discussions in Hong Kong in December. There is general acceptance – sometimes begrudgingly but general acceptance – both that the present arrangements are unsustainable, and that we should bring sugar into line with the market-based, decoupled CAP model already agreed for most other sectors. We also need to take account of the impact of reform on the EU’s existing preferential suppliers and to ensure that the changes result in fair competition for all concerned, including UK sugar beet producers.

35. Dairy reform is another area which the 2003 reforms failed fully to address. I hope the review of milk quotas in 2008 will provide an opportunity to revisit this regime.

36. We also need to look at rural development. At European level, we will argue for a continued transfer from pillar 1 subsidies to rural development expenditure, but to useful rural expenditure:

For helping farm businesses to adapt, and to take their place as productive, knowledge-based businesses responding to their customers demands, in line with the EU’s Lisbon Agenda for growth and employment;

For delivering the environmental land management benefits that only farming can provide;

And, for those rural areas which are heavily dependent on agriculture, helping to develop the wider business opportunities needed to give them a more diversified and confident future.

WTO; the Doha Round

37. On a global level, the current Doha WTO round is the key negotiation for the future economic prospects of the world as a whole, though especially for, of course, developing countries. Boosting trade in agricultural produce is critical to the success of Doha and the economic development of rich and poor alike.

38. The Framework agreement reached in August 2004 was a significant step forward to which the CAP reform made a huge contribution. I assure you that in Hong Kong we will be working hard for a successful and a balanced deal. Liberalisation of trade if properly phased in to avoid drastic disruption will be in the interests of both Europe and the developing countries. But part of the EU negotiating mandate is on non-trade issues so that food safety, animal health and welfare and environmental standards are not undermined and may even be enhanced by liberalisation.

Conclusion

39. I would like to end with a few words about climate change. Its impact, how we adapt to that impact and what we can do to ameliorate that impact was a focus of a recent stakeholder conference in London. And this year climate change will be one of the priorities for the UK Presidencies of both the G8 and the EU which will include an Informal Council meeting of EU agriculture and environment ministers to focus on climate change and EU agriculture.

40. I think it is very much for the long term benefit of the farming community for policy now to be so firmly placed in the context of sustainable development. When I was first appointed to head of Defra many farmers asked me if British farming had a future. It unquestionably does. That future can be – I believe will be – one of success, of prosperity and of genuine and renewed public esteem. But – most important of all – that future, more perhaps than at any other time in the last 50 years, is in your hands.

Margaret Beckett – 2005 Speech to the Industry Forum

MargaretBeckett

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Margaret Beckett, to the Industry Forum at Smith Square in London on 12th January 2005.

1. It is becoming increasingly widely acknowledged that climate change is the biggest threat to our environment. There is no doubt, although there are occasional dissenting voices, that the scientific consensus is that it is happening and that human activity is leading to increasingly severe impacts.

2. And there is increasing recognition that extreme weather events are costly, both in terms of economics and human lives and suffering. In the last week, we have seen high winds and severe flooding particularly in Carlisle and Northern Ireland, and this is a reminder of the types of events that we expect to become more frequent as a result of climate change.

3. As I say this has significant costs for all those involved. In Autumn 2000 sever floods led to an insurance pay-out of £1 billion; in 2003 the European heat-wave led not only to 26,000 deaths and £8billion in direct costs. So the costs of inaction are there, and they are high.

4. 2005 is a very important year for the UK and Climate Change both internationally and domestically. It’s the domestic aspect that I’d like to focus on today and in particular how the private sector can help us meet our challenging targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Internationally it is absolutely recognised and acknowledged the UK is helping to lead the way in showing what action can be taken at a national level – I say that because although this is questioned in the UK, it is not questioned elsewhere in the world. We are on track to meet our Kyoto target to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5% by the period of 2008 – 2012. In fact latest provisional estimates suggest that greenhouse gas emissions in 2003 were about 14% below 1990 levels, you will appreciate an increased achievement on previous figures.

6. Carbon dioxide emissions were about 7% below 1990 levels. That means that we have made some progress towards our domestic goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010, because although the figures are down from 1990 then have plateaued. But it is clear that we need to do more and the current review of our Climate Change Programme will be looking at ways in which we can achieve our domestic goal.

7. Historically, economic growth has gone hand-in-hand with increased environmental impacts from production, use and disposal of goods and services. The sustainability challenge is to break that link – to innovate the impact we make is in line with what the planet can bear – and our 5-year strategy launched in December confirms that breaking this link is a key priority not least for my Department.

8. This means we need to continue our actions to halt losses of biodiversity, protect natural resources, minimise waste, improve chemicals management as well as combat climate change. We all want greater prosperity and, if we do things differently, we believe we can have this without damaging the environment in a way that is unsustainable. Indeed, the innovation necessary to meet this challenge will be a driver both for growth and improved competitiveness. I certainly firmly believe that in terms of climate change, economic growth and environment improvement can go hand-in-hand and the fact that greenhouse gas emissions were 14% lower in 2002 than in 1990 and our GDP was 32% higher does confirm this is perfectly possible to break the link. In China also emissions and growth have not kept pace. Their economy has far outstripped their emissions levels.

9. The sustainable use of energy is a key means of helping us meet our climate change targets. Government has put in place a number of policies and programmes to support and encourage the industry to move in the direction of greater sustainability. The EU emissions trading scheme, Climate Change Agreements, Climate Change Levy, the Renewables Obligation, and other targeted tax allowances, including those for Combined Heat and Power, our most energy intensive industries and the power generation sector have strong incentives to reduce their emissions in the most cost-effective way.

10. I’m pleased to see that business’ commitment to tackling climate change is growing in the UK. Many firms are now recognising that action to reduce emissions can bring wide-ranging benefits including lower costs, improved competitiveness and new market opportunities. The DTI’s 5-year strategy confirms that the transition to a low-carbon economy will create significant economic opportunities for UK business. Two years ago, environmental technology industries were worth £16 billion and employed around 170,000 people. Today, they are worth £25 billion and employ around 400,000 people.

11. We need the private sector to continue that good work. We want to encourage and if we can enable you to take the lead in finding and implementing cost effective measures to cut emissions, while ensuring that a healthy and competitive business base is maintained and indeed improved. Central to this is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme; a major policy measure designed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases at least cost to industry, which began on the first of January this year. We are discussing with the European Commission amendments that we notified to our National Allocation Plan last October. We will announce our proposed installation level allocations next month, we hope, and aim to make final allocations by the end of March.

12. Emissions trading itself makes sound business sense, enabling market mechanisms to deliver emissions reductions cost effectively. That is an idea that has already been recognised in the private sector, evidenced by the introduction of the London Climate Change Service Providers Group. This group has been established to promote the business opportunities and economic benefits for its members from the development of emissions trading markets in Europe. Potential benefits include increased employment opportunities, innovation, and of course revenue. The UK’s commitment to emissions trading means we believe well placed to secure a significant share in this new and emerging market.

13. The scheme will also make climate change an even more important factor in shareholder investment decisions. From April 2005, I expect many quoted companies to use their Operating and Financial Review to report on their climate change and indeed their wider environmental performance.

14. In addition to allowing us to take a detailed look at progress being made towards meeting emission reduction targets, the review of the Climate Change Programme, to which I referred earlier, will also allow us to consider how successful we have been in delivering our climate change policies.

15. One of the most important of these is energy efficiency, which is generally acknowledged as the most cost-effective way to deliver the critical goals set out in the 2003 White Paper. The 2004 Energy Efficiency Action Plan provides a clear framework for improving energy efficiency at an unprecedented level. We are now working in partnership with industry and other stakeholders to deliver the 12 million tonnes of carbon savings by 2010 that are targeted. In all, the measures and policies in the Action Plan will save businesses and households over £3 billion per annum on their energy bills.

16. But of course in many way that is just the beginning. Many of the measures in the Plan depend on voluntary action by homeowners and businesses, so communicating the urgency of climate change and promoting demand for energy efficient products and services is a high priority. It is vital to raise awareness more widely of the links between climate change, energy policy and the choices and behaviour of individuals, businesses and also, of course, of public sector organisations.

17. We recognise we need to communicate better about climate change at every level, recognising that Government must play a leading role. In support of this aim, my department expects to contribute substantial new resources to a new approach to climate change communications and we hope that you, as leaders in the business world, will embrace and reinforce these messages and help ensure that carbon emissions and energy efficiency have an increasingly high place in your companies strategic priorities.

18. Even where awareness has been raised, many unsustainable behaviours are basically locked-in and made to seem ‘normal’ by the way that we produce and consume, by the absence of easy alternatives. We need to enable different choices, even where the barriers to change appear too great.

19. Better products can enable people to do things differently. Each time someone buys an inefficient product we lose the opportunity to reduce environmental impacts until it is replaced or wears out – often up to 10 years later. The mandatory A to G energy label enables consumers to choose the most efficient products. It has also enabled industry to innovate in bringing to market more efficient products. And we are looking to strengthen approaches for driving up environmental standards of products. At EU level, the framework directive on eco-design for energy using products will be particularly important.

20. We are continuing to inform, advise and support both businesses and the public sector through the activities of the Carbon Trust, with additional funding of £60m announced in Spending Review 2004, to support its advice, information and support services. Services that are leading to real benefits for their customers. Services that are leading to real benefits for their customers. Scottish and Newcastle plc for example are implementing carbon savings worth £2.5 million a year, saving 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

21. Innovation can also play a key role in helping us make a step change in energy efficiency and in the move towards a low carbon economy. In the Pre-Budget Report the Chancellor announced a £20million fund, to be managed by the Carbon Trust, to accelerate the development of energy efficient technology. The new funds should provide a focus for investment in energy efficiency, and will help to build new partnerships between business, research and policy-making. Additionally, a joint Defra/Treasury ‘Energy Efficiency Innovation Review’ into whether technological, policy, financial and behavioural innovation, by Government, industry or consumers, is contributing fully to energy efficiency measures is now underway. And that review itself will provide an important input to the Climate Change Programme review.

22. So all of us – whether in Government, business and as individuals – should be prepared to think more deeply about how the benefits of a modern lifestyle can be enjoyed in a way that enhances rather than harms the world around us. At present, our homes and their contents, our transport choices, our food supply all come with big environmental footprints that must be reduced if we are to meet the sustainability challenge.

23. We have made and are continuing to make progress, but to reduce these emissions further does require radical thinking and the participation of all sectors of society. I am looking to the business community to help us find the answers and would like your views on what we can do to help you to engage fully in the review of our Climate Change Programme.

Thank you.

Margaret Beckett – 2003 Speech to Labour Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth on 29th September 2003.

By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone”

Those words from the Party’s membership card have been coming into my head all week since I saw in a recent newspaper article the reported comments of a pensioner. Asked what she wanted from this Labour Government – what kind of future she sought, she called for a better quality of life – greater security, good healthcare, safer streets, less vandalism.

It’s what she wanted for herself. It’s what we want for every citizen because that is only fair – fair and right and just.

As that pensioners comments revealed, the public face of public services for the great majority of Britons starts at their front door. That public face may not be of our schools, unless there are school age children in the family. For the majority it may not immediately be healthcare unless there is a current experience of ill-health. But for each and all of us it is the condition of our streets, and open spaces. It’s litter, graffiti, abandoned cars or even discarded chewing gum. It’s vandalism experienced or even just feared.

These are the things that blight all of our daily lives, which make us feel more insecure. Yet we know that all of these things are beyond the reach of any of us as an individual. They require that common endeavour.

Government’s role is to provide local authorities and others with powers and funding to help address these problems in the communities where they occur, working with those closest to them, community groups, the police, youth services and local businesses.

We cannot just will this change from Whitehall but the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, for example, will give local authorities new powers to tackle fly-tipping, graffiti and noise.

If we are to meet the challenge set for us not only by that pensioner but by the millions of our fellow citizens at home and across the world who share her ambitions for their own lives, we must strive to overcome the divisions which beset our communities.

Above all, we must achieve this in international climate change negotiations. I believe this to be the predominant challenge of our time – the challenge that dominates our future, no matter what else may befall. And though that challenge will affect us all, it will affect first and most the most poor and the most vulnerable. Even if we act now, with as much boldness and effectiveness as we can summon, the science tells us that, for example, by the end of this century 20 million more people are likely to be affected by flooding every year- most of them in developing countries. If we do not act that figure will be at least 90 million.

We and other developed countries accept that while everybody has a part to play and must find ways of playing that part, we the developed countries have a duty to act earlier, to make a greater contribution, to shoulder a larger part of the responsibility – because we can. That is fairness. It is also international solidarity in practice.

The contribution of Britain’s scientists and the lead taken by our government as well as personally by the Prime Minister has brought us huge international respect.

But none of us have taken more than the very first steps on a long long road. Agreeing the Kyoto Protocol and its legal framework laid the foundation but there is much much more to do to match the scale of the challenge we face.

President Putin acknowledged that challenge today. We are in no doubt that it is in the interests of the whole world, Russia included, for the Kyoto Protocol to come into force with Russian ratification. It is also strongly in Russia’s economic interest.

But as I say we must do more. That is why in our Energy White Paper this year we set out on a long-term path for Britain – we set the goal of reducing our carbon emissions – the main source of climate change – by around 60% by the year 2050 – the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. It is at the heart of our pursuit of a low carbon economy. In Britain we have already shown that economic growth and emission reduction can be achieved side by side. We do not need to choose between them. Carbon emissions fell 13% between 1990 and 1999, while the economy grew by 28%. In fact in many cases environmental gain can bring economic benefits. Companies and individuals saving carbon are companies and individuals saving money.

There is one other area I want to raise, which people do not often mention when you ask them about their quality of life, perhaps because wrongly we take it too much for granted. That is the way Britain looks and is. Our landscape. Our forests. Our rural environment. And what that means to all of us in terms of leisure opportunities and tourism.

The creation of DEFRA strengthens the link, between the quality of our landscape and our quality of life. We are developing agri-environment schemes for farmers which reward them for improving landscape and biodiversity. We’re considering the creation of two new National Parks in the New Forest and South Downs. River water quality is at an all-time high. Wild bird populations are at their highest level since 1990. And there are more trees in England than there have been for 100 years.

And this is just the beginning. For decades the structure of the Common Agriculture Policy with its powerful and direct links between levels of production and subsidy was providing a perverse incentive to undermine much of what we most value, about what is after all a managed landscape – 70% of it farmed.

Incidentally it was the perverse incentive to overproduction which also led to us dumping our surpluses on world markets, undermining the prosperity of farmers in many developing countries.

The dramatic changes which we can make as a result of the recent historic agreement on CAP reform stem from breaking that fundamental link between production and subsidy levels. They offer us an opportunity to work towards the goals set for us by the Curry Commission at the beginning of this Parliament – a more sustainable agriculture which is better for consumers, taxpayers and farmers – as well as being better for our environment.

That reform deal formed the basis for our approach to the recent WTO talks in Mexico, where for the first time the world community as a whole sought trade deals whose over-riding purpose was to improve the long-term prospects for developing countries.

At those talks there was the opportunity to maintain the momentum created by the Millennium Development goals, the Monterrey finance agreement the Johannesburg Summit and the many practical partnerships for development that it launched.

Sadly, in Mexico that opportunity was not seized. I am well aware that many who passionately support the cause of development believe that this is for the best. I hope more than I can say that their tactics and their optimism prove to be justified. What I profoundly fear is that we are in danger of irrevocably damaging the prospects for sustainable development which will be of most worth to those who need it most. There is a terrible risk that major players in many different parts of the world will judge that country to country deals could serve them almost as well. Yet it is only through multilateral processes that we stand any chance of protecting the interests of the smallest and the most weak.

So it is internationally as well as at home that we must all strive for real improvement in the quality of life for all.

The issues brought to mind by that phrase are fundamental to our well-being. Few of them are easy to tackle or to overcome. But real benefit to human health and happiness follow from addressing them successfully. And as I said at the outset that can only be a common endeavour. Perhaps after all it’s not “the economy stupid”. It is the quality of life.

 

Margaret Beckett – 2002 Speech at Labour Party Conference

MargaretBeckett

Below is the text of the speech made by Margaret Beckett at the 2002 Labour Party conference.

I commend to conference the Quality of Life report, and composite number 8 on the Johannesburg world summit.

Ten years ago at the Rio earth summit the world accepted the need to manage the planet as a single whole for the whole of the human race. And it was at Rio that the ideal of sustainability through true integration between environmental, social and economic issues took on substance and shape – that all must be weighed one with the other if human beings are to thrive and prosper without destroying our natural inheritance or the prospects for generations to come.

Concerted international efforts were agreed to tackle global problems: climate change, land degradation, the threat to biodiversity. And with them recognition that governments alone cannot deliver so ambitious a programme, which requires commitment from across our society and economy.

And 10 years on the theme that ran through the Johannesburg summit a month ago was this decade’s recognition that, just as dire poverty and environmental degradation are mutually undermining, so action on poverty and the effective management of natural resources are often mutually reinforcing.

Much has been achieved on Rio’s programme agenda 21 but somewhere down the line momentum was lost. We began to regain momentum with the setting of the millennium development goals. But the main focus for new momentum was the Johannesburg summit itself – part of a continuum of commitment from the Doha trade round focussed on addressing the needs of the developing world, through a substantial increase in international aid at Monterrey. And then Johannesburg – not a new earth summit but as someone called it the ‘down to earth summit’.

It was never the intention to draw up a new master plan in Johannesburg. There’s nothing wrong with the master plan we already have. But at Johannesburg we sought to create a mosaic of implementation – including what some have called a new Marshall plan for the environment, since disintegration of the environmental pillar of sustainable development would lead to the inevitable collapse of the others.

More than 200 concrete partnerships for delivery were promised in Johannesburg – including governments, national and local, developed and developing countries, NGOs and the business community.

These are partnerships for water supply and sanitation, for energy supply, including renewable energy and energy efficiency. Forest partnerships include a project of over a dozen nations to save the forests of the Congo basin – one of the richest sources of biodiversity remaining on the planet. Targets and timetables were set for tackling sanitation, toxic chemicals, biodiversity, natural resources, fish stocks, oceans and energy.

That was Johannesburg.

And though some expressed regret that we did not propose further action on climate change in Johannsburg in three weeks in India, we will examine the next steps on climate change.

The same complaint was made about agricultural subsidies but the Doha trade talks will take on reality in the spring. These talks are vital. In Africa particularly, agriculture is key to sustained economic growth. It accounts for two-thirds of the labour force, on-third of GDP and half of all exports.

Yet OECD figures show that while in 2000 developed countries gave $50bn in aid, they spent $350bn subsidising their own agriculture. The World Bank has calculated that a 50% cut in agriculture subsidies and opening our markets, would be worth three times as much to developing countries as they get in aid.

That’s why this winter’s talks on CAP reform are so important. The CAP takes almost half the EU’s budget. Yet no one believes this is money well spent. We all pay twice, both as taxpayers and as consumers. Farmers resent both the bureaucracy and the failure to secure their livelihoods. And, as the commission on food and farming, chaired by Sir Don Curry, reported earlier this year, it is often actively damaging to the environment.

We want to switch resources from irrelevant or damaging subsidy so that we can support environmental improvement or rural prosperity more directly and effectively than is possible today.

There is no doubt that such a switch and such support are needed. When the Conservatives left office Britain’s rural communities were as devastated as the rest of our country.

Between 1983 and 1997 an average of 30 village schools in England were closing every year. By 1997 only one in four parishes had a daily bus service, and a third of all villages had no shop.

Today a Labour government is working to deliver the goals of the rural white paper, and to produce high quality services in rural areas.

Already total unemployment in rural areas is down by over two-fifths on its 1997 level, long-term youth unemployment is down by over three quarters, and the proportion of young New Dealers entering work is 17% higher in rural than urban areas.

There is a drive to provide affordable homes. NHS direct is available throughout England and an investment programme in rurual healthcare is underway. A new rural police fund to the tune of an extra £30m stands alongside £70m a year for rural buses, and an extra £80m a year for small schools which particularly benefits rural areas. And there is wider support for rural regeneration including particularly in market towns.

And across the country we are addressing issues whose existence the Tories failed even to acknowledge.

In the last two years alone we have taken 400,000 people out of fuel poverty and will take a further 400,000 out in the next 2 years.

Continuing work on energy and resource use in industry and transport help tackle individual prosperity and economic sustainability.

And there is much more to do – not least on waste. Every week we could fill Wembley Stadium with what we throw away. And unless we change course that will have doubled by 2020. We’re running out of space and we need a new approach.

Such problems can be successfully tackled. Drinking water, river water, beaches and bathing water – including at Blackpool – are at the highest quality ever, and 50 years on from the great smog of 1952 in which people died levels of some air pollutants have already fallen to levels last seen before the Industrial Revolution.

These issues all contribute to our quality of life, now and in the future, in this country and across the world. The pursuit of sustainable development is not a luxury for a few rich countries. It is a necessity for all.

This year more detailed forecasts of the impact of climate change tell us to expect greater extremes of weather, along with rising sea levels – devastating floods, the spread of tropical diseases and the loss of biodiversity. Poorest countries will be the worst affected because they will be the least able to adapt. But all countries will suffer.

These global problems cannot be resolved by nation states acting alone. Climate change, migration, poverty, terrorism, drug abuse are challenges to the international community as a whole and require the engagement of that whole community.

I fully understand the disappointment of those who wanted more from Johannesburg but the summit was not the end of a process it was a beginning.

Let there be no doubt. The combination of the millennium development goals and the Johannesburg programme of implementation represent the greatest challenge the human race has ever set itself. If delivered it would mean a revolution in the lives of the poorest people on the planet and the start of a revolution in our approach to the planet itself. We dare not fail.

Margaret Beckett – 2002 Speech on the Darwin Initiative

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Below is the text of the speech made by Margaret Beckett on the 19th November 2002 on the Darwin Initiative.

My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen: we’re here tonight to celebrate the success of the first ten years of the Darwin Initiative, and to mark the launch of   a new Phase of the Initiative. I am glad to see around me many longstanding ‘Friends’ of Darwin, including some who were involved from the outset. Others among us will be less familiar with the Initiative.

I hope that after tonight you will all consider yourselves Friends of Darwin;   and will help us promote it – especially our honoured guests representing many developing countries and, of course, the press corps. The Initiative has acquired a remarkable reputation for its achievements. A reputation which has reached far and wide. I am very pleased to tell you that we even have a message of support tonight from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. You will all get a copy of the Prince’s message on the way out.

Charles Darwin, himself, is of course in the news at the moment. I see he is currently number [four] in the BBC’s poll of Great Britons. We certainly picked an   iconic figure as our inspiration for the Initiative.

For those of you that don’t know, let me explain that the Darwin Initiative is a small grants programme run by my Department. It:

– uses UK expertise

– works with local partners

– helping countries rich in biodiversity but poor in resources

– to conserve and use their biodiversity sustainably.

I first became fully aware of the Darwin Initiative as we were preparing earlier this year for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. What I learned impressed me a great deal. I am full of admiration for the quality of work that is carried out by UK institutions – many of them represented here tonight – and by their partners in developing countries:

– work, often in remote and inaccessible areas of the world

– work that is innovative, imaginative, and fulfils high standards of excellence

– work that has a lasting impact on biodiversity and local livelihoods

Darwin projects can be influential, too. I believe that the University of York’s project in Belize played a small part in the decision last week to give the Whale Shark protection under CITES.

We are now into the 11th annual round of Darwin grants. By the time new allocations are made, we will have committed over 30 million pounds to well over 300 projects in more than 100 countries

The Darwin Initiative, was launched at the Rio Earth Summit and it was fitting therefore, on the 10th anniversary to review the Initiative and its budget. I was very pleased therefore to be able to boost Darwin funds by an extra 7 million pounds. As many of you will have heard, the Prime Minister announced this increase in his Maputo speech on the World Summit.

The annual budget will rise next year from three million pounds to four million and will go up again year on year, rising to seven million pounds per year by 2005.

This budget increase will help us do a lot more. And the Darwin Advisory Committee has been looking at plans for the future of the Initiative. You will see on our publicity materials the new Darwin logo. Still based on Darwin’s Finches, it reminds us of the very real challenges we face in safeguarding the world’s biodiversity. For only last week, we heard of the threat to half the species of Darwin Finch from a nest parasite introduced from the mainland.

Our plans for phase II will

– strengthen the links with the Convention on Biodiversity

– increase the legacy of Darwin projects, and

– improve the partnership element of projects

Professor David Ingram, Chairman of the Darwin Advisory Committee will have more to say on these plans shortly.

The Darwin Initiative is, to my mind, a shining example of the sort of partnership we need to foster: partnerships that make a real difference in the work they do on the ground. Partnerships are not a new idea. But their importance is so fundamental that, in a novel move for the UN, over 300 of them were formally endorsed by Johannesburg. Let me say a few words about the Summit.

We set out with an ambitious agenda. Rightly so. Yet the final deal – between the 180 participating countries – was a success. Some of those who pushed for more may have been disappointed. But what we did achieve, taken in conjunction with the UN Millennium Development Goals will –   if implemented – represent a revolution in the lives of the poorest people on the planet, and the beginnings of a revolution in how we treat the planet itself.

The Summit agreed an impressive plan of implementation, including

– a new target to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people living without basic sanitation:this will save millions of lives in developing countries.

– new targets and timetables on chemicals, biodiversity, marine protection and fish stocks: these and other commitments will galvanise action and set standards for the next 10 years or more.

– joint actions on reliable and affordable energy for the poor and to increase the global share of renewable energy sources: the Prime Minister announced that the UK’s Export Credit Guarantee Department will make available £50m per year to renewable energy exports to developing countries.

Taken together, these represent a sizable agenda for change that will really make a difference to people’s lives and their environments.

Making a difference is what the Darwin Initiative is all about. I would like to pay tribute to those far sighted individuals who developed such a successful formula. I am truly proud of what Darwin has achieved since its launch at the Rio Summit in 1992. But you don’t need to take my word for it. In a few minutes we will see a video of some of these achievements.

First we will hear a few words from David Ingram. But before I hand over to David, I want to express my deepest thanks to the commitment and dedication of Darwin Committee members past and present.   They are all unpaid. And yet they contribute above and beyond the call of duty – putting in time to promote the Initiative and the cause of biodiversity conservation generally; this, in addition to their bread and butter role of advising Ministers on the award of grants.

They are of course, too many to name individually. But I should like to pay especial thanks to former chairman Crispin Tickell and current Chairman David Ingram.

Finally, to all Friends of Darwin, new and old, I would like to say keep up the good work. Darwin the man, and Darwin the Initiative are an inspiration and I am very very proud of what we have achieved.

John Battle – 2000 Speech on Burma

Below is the text of the speech made by the then Foreign Office Minister, John Battle, on Burma at Leeds University on 16th June 2000.

In October 1998, a 12-year old girl in Karen state was taken with two others to act as guides for regime troops. She was allegedly raped by a major and managed to escape. But she was recaptured and raped again and then shot dead. The major gave the girl’s family compensation for her death: one sack of rice, one measure of sugar, one tin of condensed milk, and 100 kyat (about 20p).

This is just one of all too many shocking examples listed by Amnesty International in a recent report about women in Burma.

Today I want to:

– set out for all to see the Burmese regime’s appalling record on human rights abuse and democracy;

– set out how the UK is taking the lead in putting international pressure on the Burmese regime to change;

– undertake to keep up such pressure until the regime improves its human rights record and enters into dialogue with democratic groups in Burma.

HISTORY

To all appearances, Burma is among the most exotic destinations in the world. It has so much to offer, from its age﷓old pagodas and colourful markets to its seductively tranquil pace of life. Burma has a long history and tradition of Buddhist culture.

But the reality is that this country, inhabited by some of the gentlest people in the world, has been governed since the sixties by military regimes and that the current regime, in power since 1988, is one of the most barbaric in the world.

When Burma gained her independence from Britain in 1948, few would have believed that the country would slide to the point of economic and social collapse that Burma has now reached under this brutal military junta.

DEMOCRACY

It tells the world that it is committed to democracy. The facts are as follows.

The Burmese Constitution, drawn up in 1974 to replace the 1948 Independence Constitution, was suspended following the military’s crushing of the people’s uprising in September 1988. It remains suspended. The Government rules by decree.

Before the elections held in 1990 in response to huge public demand, the then army chief of staff said ‘the army will transfer state control to a government formed in accordance with the wishes of the people expressed through fair and free democratic elections’.

In those elections, the National League for Democracy, led by Aung San Suu, won an overwhelming majority, with 60 per cent of the votes and four fifths of the seats in Parliament.

But that parliament has never been formed. Burma’s generals simply ignored this legitimate expression of the popular will. Two months after the elections, the military regime issued a Declaration, stating that the duty of the elected representatives was merely to draft a new Constitution.

Three years later, the regime established a National Convention to do so. Of the 702 delegates that made up the Convention, 70 per cent were handpicked by the regime. Only 15 per cent of the seats went to the NLD. And many of these were subsequently disqualified, mainly for questioning the leading role of the army. Not surprisingly, the NLD walked out, despairing that the Convention did not allow serious debate.

Of the 485 MPs elected in 1990, 280 have either been disqualified, resigned under pressure, gone into exile, or died. 49 remain in prison: 150 are detained without charge. Of the 392 NLD MPs elected in 1990, over 100 are either in prison or detained. A further 100 have been forced to resign or have gone into exile. Two have died in prison.

Since September 1998 the military regime has announced the closure of over 50 NLD party offices, and the resignation of some 50,000 NLD members. Most did so under duress. So much for a commitment to democracy.

Throughout history, countless dictators, despots and other undemocratic regimes have come and gone across the world. But none has been so crass as to hold democratic elections, only to completely ignore their results when they didn’t go their way. There can be no clearer illustration of the Burmese regime’s utter contempt for the democratic process.

INTERNAL SITUATION

The situation on the ground in Burma, particularly for the ethnic minorities there, is appalling. The NLD and other political groups continue to work bravely for democracy, offering the hand of partnership to those in authority. But that hand has so often been pushed aside. Although no longer under house arrest, Aung San Suu Kyi is left isolated, her principles and conviction her only defence against the regime’s thugs. The regime claims it respects international human rights norms. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has repeatedly condemned Burma in successive reports, the most recent of which was published in January of this year.

Indeed, every international organisation asked to examine the situation in Burma returns with a catalogue of abuses. These include arbitrary arrest, torture, rape, summary executions, the brutal behaviour of the armed forces, forced labour, forced relocation and the absence of fundamental civic freedoms of speech, movement, assembly and political belief. Most of these abuses are directed against Burmese ethnic minorities such as the Karen, the Mon and the Shan. And it’s not just the Burmese people that suffer.

Foreign visitors to the country can fall foul of the regime, as we have been all to painfully reminded in recent months, with the arrest and detention of two British citizens for daring to express their views in Burma. Rachel Goldwyn was eventually released, but James Mawdsley remains in prison. His crime? Handing out pro﷓democracy leaflets to the people of Burma.

My thoughts are with him and his family. Our Embassy staff in Rangoon have visited James on a number of occasions. They will continue to do all that they can to ensure that he is treated fairly.

In mentioning the Embassy, I should like if I may to pay tribute to our Ambassador and his small team in Rangoon for their dedication in watching and reporting what is happening there in trying circumstances, and for keeping a lifeline open to the NLD leadership.

In September 1998 the regime detained without charge 1000 opposition members, including 200 MPs, in response to the NLD’s convening of a Committee to Represent the People’s Parliament.

The Committee had been formed to circumvent the regime’s point blank refusal to talk to Aung San Suu Kyi.

In January 1999 some 200 Rangoon University students were sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for their involvement in non﷓violent demonstrations against the regime. Many NLD members were similarly sentenced.

Last September there was a further wave of detentions, including that of a three year old girl. Difficult to see a political threat there.

Two months ago, the regime began a wave of arrests of NLD youth wing workers in response to the relaunch of the party’s youth organisations in townships near Rangoon. Over a hundred were detained in the run up to the tenth anniversary of the elections on 27 May. That anniversary provided a poignant reminder to us all of how the democratic process has been completely stifled in Burma, with any seeds of dissent snuffed out at an early stage.

The International Committee for the Red Cross currently estimate that there are 1400 political prisoners in Burma. Others put the figure as high as 3000. Several have died in prison, reportedly as a result of maltreatment.

These brutal policies have led to the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people across Burma’s borders into neighbouring countries. We understand that there are some 22,000 Burmese refugees in Bangladesh, and over 120,000 mostly Karen and Karenni in camps along the Thai/Burma border.

The Burmese army or their proxies have regularly attacked the camps in Thailand, killing some refugees, wounding others and making thousands homeless. Thousands of others are either living illegally in Thailand outside the refugee camps, or have been displaced within Burma.

Reports of half a million or more internally displaced persons are not uncommon. There is no part of Burma unaffected by this.

The squatters who fled Rangoon after the military takeover in 1988 which saw thousands of unarmed protesters slaughtered, an outrage for which the military remain accountable;

The Rohingyas in Rakhine State who fled from military oppression into Bangladesh 10 years ago. Those who have returned could well be forced to flee again;

The 100,000 Wa and other ethnic hill farmers who are being forcibly moved from northern Shan State to the border.

All face the same bleak future as the Karen, Mon and Shan ethnic minorities, among the 20 or so ethnic minorities in Burma, who have been displaced by constant armed conflict between the military regime in Rangoon and their armed ethnic cousins.

UK HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

We are doing what we can to help these people through a variety of channels. We are providing direct humanitarian assistance, working closely with neighbouring countries on repatriation issues and safeguarding the security of refugees.

British humanitarian assistance delivers vital relief to the region. Our assistance to non﷓governmental organisations working on the ground in Burma targets some of the poorest and most vulnerable groups. Since 1996, we have provided more than one million pounds for Burmese refugees in neighbouring countries.

This year alone we have allocated two hundred and seventy thousand pounds to support the excellent work of the Burma Border Consortium in providing humanitarian assistance to refugee camps in Thailand.

ECONOMIC SITUATION

Burma’s economy is frankly a mess. Hardly surprising when the regime devotes anywhere between 40 and 60 per cent of its budget to the army.

Inflation in Burma is officially estimated at between 30 and 40 per cent. But the basket used to produce this figure is unreliable. The real figure is probably nearer 100 per cent.

For example, a 50 kilo bag of rice now costs between four and five thousand Kyat, double the price of a year ago. The average family in Burma spends about 80 per cent of its income on food.

There were budget deficits throughout the 1990s. Officially the current deficit is about 3.5 per cent of GDP, although it’s probably greater because of off﷓budget, mainly military expenditure.

With a tax take of only 3 per cent, the lowest in the world, the regime spends more than twice as much as it receives in tax. The official exchange rate in Burma is one US dollar to six Burmese Kyat. The market rate is one dollar to 330 Kyat.

Investment in Burma has dried up. New approvals in 1998/99 were only 5 per cent of those in the previous financial year. Major foreign companies are pulling out. Toyota, and HSBC, are but two examples. That’s another vote of no confidence in the regime.

And even during the peak investment years of the early 1990s, all key social welfare indicators worsened, suggesting that the investment benefited only a very small elite in the country.

Burma’s trade with all its key neighbours has declined rapidly in the last two years. The country is in default with its outstanding loans from both the World and Asian Development Banks.

It currently has some 270 billion yen in official debt to Japan, 130 billion of which is in arrears, representing a third of all non﷓performing Japanese loans.

Before the Second World War, Burma was the world’s largest exporter of rice ﷓ 3.3 million tonnes in 1938/39. In the early 1960s Burma exported about one and a half million tonnes annually. Now Burma exports less than 100,000 tonnes per year. The rice bowl of Asia can scarcely feed its own people.

NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ACTION

Britain has historically strong links with Burma. Which makes it all the more difficult for us to stand by and watch the subjugation of a nation by military despots who continue to ignore the people’s democratic choice. While that dreadful state of affairs remains, we shall afford the regime no respite.

Robin Cook saw some of the suffering the Burmese people are enduring when he visited a refugee camp near the Burma border in Thailand in April. He said then that he could not forget the horrors he saw and heard about.

The only comfort he could draw from the experience was that his harsh criticism of the regime at the time drew a sharp reaction from them. They were stung by his words. Which shows that our policy of condemnation and pressure works. It reminds the regime that their malignant incompetence is tracked by the wider world. And it gives heart to Burma’s downtrodden democrats. They can see that they are not forgotten.

THE UK DRIVING THE AGENDA FORWARD

We shall continue to condemn the regime’s dreadful human rights record, and to press them to enter into substantive dialogue with democratic groups, including ethnic minority leaders, to find a political solution to the country’s problems.

There will be no relaxation in the pressure we are mounting, the measures we have taken and shall continue to take for as long as they continue to hold out against political and economic reform.

Our policy recognises the need to sustain the Burmese opposition and to resist the regime’s efforts to wear down international resistance to its undemocratic rule.

Through our Embassy in Rangoon we maintain very close contacts with pro﷓democracy groups in Burma, including Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party. We all value this important contact.

But it is not, as some have suggested, just about Aung San Suu Kyi. Our policy rests upon the principle of the right of the Burmese people to express a choice about who should govern them and how governments are held accountable.

In failing to allow Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party to form a government, the Burmese military regime are denying the people of Burma those rights.

We are determined to keep up the pressure on Burma on every front, bilaterally, regionally and multinationally, in whatever forum is available.

Multilateral pressure is without doubt the most potent weapon at our disposal. That is why Britain has been leading efforts to mobilise the international community in a wide range of international bodies.

Burma’s disgraceful human rights record is an affront to the United Nations principles that it has undertaken to uphold.

In April, we again co-sponsored a strongly worded United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution, cataloguing the Burmese regime’s human rights violations. We did the same at the UN General Assembly last November.

It is the responsibility of the Burmese government to respect their international obligations, and to implement UN resolutions swiftly and in full. We shall maintain the pressure to ensure that they do so.

Back in March the United Kingdom led the charge in condemning Burma at the governing body of the International Labour Organisation. The regime has consistently ignored the ILO’s recommendations on stopping forced labour, and that organisation’s patience has snapped.

Two days ago, in an unprecedented move, ILO delegates voted to take action to compel the Burmese regime to comply with ILO regulations on forced labour.

This is the first time that such steps have been taken against a member state in the history of the ILO, thus implicitly recognising that Burma’s behaviour in this respect is worse than any other labour issue, anywhere, ever. International pressure does work.

Further evidence of this was seen in the regime’s reaction to the EU’s tightened package of measures against Burma, announced in April in a move spear﷓headed by the UK.

The EU now not only bans military exports, defence links, non﷓humanitarian aid and high level bilateral visits, but has also published a list of prominent regime measures for whom visas are banned, and has frozen their funds in the EU.

UNILATERAL UK MEASURES

We have taken unilateral measures too. We have withdrawn all Government support for trade missions to Burma and actively discourage British companies from doing business there. In March I called in representatives of Premier Oil, the biggest British investor in Burma, and told them we wanted them to withdraw from the country as soon as lawfully possible. Our view is that a multi﷓million pound investment in Burma’s most important revenue generating sector can only serve to prop up the military regime.

I was delighted to hear since then that two other major British companies with a presence in Burma have reviewed their positions there, with HSBC announcing their withdrawal and Standard Chartered downgrading their operation in Burma.

Individuals can make a difference too. Burmese democratic leaders have made clear that they want tourists to stay away from Burma. We cannot ban individuals from going there ﷓ unlike Burma, this is a free country.

But every independent British tourist that does go there should know that they have to exchange three hundred US dollars into Foreign Exchange Certificates. Every one of these dollars will directly support the regime, which is desperately short of foreign exchange.

Any tourist to Burma should only go with their eyes open to what is happening there.

ALTERNATIVE POLICIES?

Not everyone agree with our policy on Burma, so the scope for further international action is limited. For example, for trade sanctions to be effective they have to be universal and we know that for now at least, this is not achievable.

Some argue that because of this, we should introduce unilateral sanctions. But experience has shown us that unilateral sanctions don’t work. And we are not in the business of empty gestures. We want to take action that has a real effect.

Others would prefer us to move in the other direction, ease the pressure and engage in dialogue with the regime. But the regime refuses to engage.

They are in denial. They deny all human rights abuse allegations, and yet refuse access to anyone wishing to investigate those allegations. Judge Lallah, the United Nations Special envoy on human rights, has never been allowed into Burma.

Mr De Soto, the UN’s last Special envoy on Burma, got in only rarely.

I very much hope that Razali Ismail, the newly appointed Special envoy, enjoys greater access. But the signs are not promising.

The Burmese have already delayed his first planned visit. He now hopes to visit at the end of this month. Do not be surprised if we see yet another postponement.

The World Bank, who accompanied Mr De Soto on his visit, did so carrying an olive branch. Show signs of improvement on human rights, they said, for example, release some political prisoners and allow freedom of political expression, and in return you can start on the road back towards developmental aid.

Nothing happened. Dialogue takes two, but the Burmese are simply not prepared to engage. The Burmese do not talk to us, and until they do, we shall remain firm. So where do we go from here?

CONCLUSION

Let the regime be in no doubt that we will not relax the pressure.

We will work unilaterally, regionally, multilaterally, through the EU, the UN, through any and all appropriate fora, to drive home to the Burmese regime that they will not be allowed to get away with it.

They are going to have to change. The winds of democratic reform are sweeping the ASEAN region. Burma cannot remain immune.

We want an end to the human rights abuses, and a return to democracy. Until those changes occur, Burma cannot be welcomed back into the international fold. As long as the denial continues, so will the isolation.

In the meantime, we as a Government, and as democratic people in Britain, will continue to keep the spotlight on the situation in Burma – underlining and challenging the human rights abuses, engaging with our partners in the EU, the UN and the wider international community to increase the pressure on the Burmese military to respect democracy. Next Monday sees the birthday of Aung San Suu Kyi. Her courageous lifelong struggle and endurance are supported throughout the world. Three weeks ago was the tenth anniversary of the election won by the National League for Democracy. They are still prevented from taking office. These anniversaries will be remembered and commemorated until there is justice and peace for all Burmese people, and democracy is properly restored.

Greg Barker – 2014 Speech on Renewables

gregorybarker

Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Barker, a Minister of State at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, at the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Market’s UK Renewables day in London on 22nd May 2014.

Introduction

Thank you to RBC and to John Musk for convening this important and timely conference.

I am delighted to kick off and would like to provide my personal view on the renewable sector in 2014 and its role in the wider economy.

And that is where I would like to start. Growth has returned to the UK. We are beginning to see the positive impact of our policies as confidence returns. Our Long Term Economic Plan is working.

Our Long Term Economic Plan is delivering for millions of families…

…for British business…

…and for investors for near and far, who are sharing in our hard-earned growth.

…Growth in an economy that is now the fastest-growing in the G7.

And the energy sector is at the heart of that long-term plan.

In energy, nothing demonstrates this renewed confidence more clearly than the health of the new secondary market which so many in this room have been instrumental in creating.

In little over a year, seven new listed investment companies have mobilised £1.4bn of new money entering the renewables landscape – much of it for the first time.

Your funds, built on reliable, proven technologies like wind and solar, and supported by our long term incentives, means that many institutional investors are increasingly considering renewables in a new light.

A safe, low-risk, transparent asset class worthy of investment consideration.

I am pleased to see several representatives from the insurance sector, pension sector and mutual funds in the audience.

For those seeking long-term, stable returns, this sector offers enormous potential.

The Savoy is famous for hosting parties and celebrations – or indeed just marking important events. I hope today you will leave this memorable old hotel, reassured that the British renewables industry has genuinely come of age!

Today I’d like to stress three key points:

Britain is committed to a long-term renewables agenda

We have the policy framework – and the funding – in place to give certainty to investors

We have become the world-leaders in offshore wind, and intend to both safeguard that position and strengthen our expertise in the supply chain and in other renewables

The renewables agenda

Given that many of you are not renewables specialists, it is worth reflecting on some key points that are often lost in the political noise.

The latest UK Energy Statistics show that renewable generation grew by 28% in 2013, with its share of electricity generation up to a record 17.6% in the fourth quarter of 2013.

That is all the more remarkable, given the wider picture across Europe.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, year-on-year investment in renewables has dropped back since 2011, falling by 50% across the EU.

Yet in the UK the investment picture is dramatically different to the rest of Europe, growing by 20% to a total of £8bn in 2013 – outperforming even that stalwart of the renewables revolution, Germany – and a new record high.

But it was also gratifying to see in their conference last month in New York that Bloomberg now anticipates a sharp rise in clean energy investment globally in the coming two years.

We should remember too that despite the political noise, there remains a strong cross-party consensus on renewables.

At the passing of the Energy Bill in November, Conservatives and Lib Dems were joined in the division by the official opposition, giving the Energy Act one of the largest majorities of this parliament.

And the public backs renewables too! Our own polling shows overall renewable support at 77%. With support for technologies such as Solar PV even higher at 85%.

Policy framework

I also wanted to update you on our Electricity Market Reform programme – a radical new market design which retains a liberal approach while addressing market failures.

After two years of in-depth design, consultations, parliamentary scrutiny and legislation, our Energy Act which I just mentioned – reforming the electricity market – was signed into law in December 2013.

Our reform will ensure that the UK remains a leading destination for investment in low carbon electricity right across the technology landscape, not just renewables.

This will be a massive boost to our economy, generating skills, expertise and hundreds of thousands of jobs in this sector.

After several years of planning, we are bang on track for EMR implementation this year.

The two main components of EMR are the Contracts for Difference (CfD) to support low carbon generation, and the Capacity Market to ensure security of supply.

It’s the first of these which matters most to the renewables sector.

Contracts for Difference are in effect a type of guaranteed feed-in tariff, designed to provide stable and predictable incentives for companies to invest in low-carbon electricity generation. It removes wholesale electricity price risk.

We looked at our experience here with ROCs. We looked abroad, especially to Germany at their experience with a Feed in Tariff. And we think CfDs represent the best of both.

And it is not just the policy architecture that we have so carefully put in place. Through our Levy Control Framework, we also have the guaranteed funding in place.

Funding to support new projects right up to 2021

The Framework sets the Government’s spending envelope for low carbon and renewable electricity incentives, ultimately paid for through consumers’ energy bills.

So it helps control the costs of energy. It holds the Government to account. And it provides certainty to investors.

No other country in Europe – not Spain, France, or even Germany – can guarantee investors and developers alike such funding certainty.

And if we are to realise our huge ambitions for renewables and offshore wind especially, we are going to need that certainty.

Wind

But this isn’t just an opportunity created by the British genius for financial innovation. The physical underlying natural resource is phenomenal. I’d like to focus on just one example: wind.

The UK has the largest offshore wind market on the planet.

And according to E&Y, we continue to be the most attractive destination in the world for offshore wind investment.

Right now, we have the two largest wind farms – London Array and Greater Gabbard.

But by 2020 we could see 8 to 15GW of installed offshore wind capacity which could support up to 35,000 jobs

A contribution of £7billion to the UK’s economy

The Green Investment Bank – conceived by Conservatives in opposition, developed hand-in-hand with the investment community and delivered in Government – has not only addressed market failure…

…but also been instrumental in ensuring the spin cycle of capital is increased and enhanced…

…Releasing development capital sooner to build out faster.

In fact the Bank has just signed two landmark offshore wind deals, Westermost Rough and Gwynt y Mor.

This has allowed the current owner-developers, DONG and RWE, to recycle their capital into new projects.

I will let Ed speak on the detail, but I would point out that the former deal sees GIB taking construction risk for the first time in offshore wind, a significant step forward.

The bank has now invested well over £600m in five offshore wind farms and a total of £1.3bn has been mobilised – a record of which I am extremely proud. But that is just for starters.

This type of investment is also ensuring that the supply chain is developed here in the UK not overseas.

In March, Siemens and Associated British Ports announced plans to invest £310 million building two offshore wind turbine and blade factories in Hull.

Construction will start later this year and will finish in 2016. Once again – the sector is delivering renewed confidence and growth.

And playing its part in the extraordinary renaissance of British manufacturing and the rebalancing of the economy more widely.

Allowing us to compete with growing confidence in the global race.

Remaining issues

Before I conclude, I thought I’d quickly pre-empt a couple of questions you might have.

First, on exactly how competition for CfDs will work.

Earlier this month, we confirmed the two main technology groupings we will use when allocating contracts:

One group of less established technologies, such as offshore wind and wave and tidal

And a separate group of established technologies such as onshore wind and large-scale solar PV which will move to competition from the start of the CfD regime later this year

And we are consulting on some other details regarding biomass and Scottish wind projects.

We are doing this as we believe the UK’s renewable industry is delivering a strong pipeline of new projects and that moving to competition now will enable us to reduce the cost that consumers face.

Second, the current plans for changes to Renewables Obligations for large-scale solar.

Our hugely ambitious Solar Strategy, published last month, spelt out in detail what I have been saying for several years…

…namely, it is the solar rooftop market and onsite generation for commerce and industry that is our focus for growth…

…not remote field solar.

There is still a place for solar arrays as the sector continues to grow.

But it is the onsite generation market that is our first priority.

Our proposals, which would take effect next year, focus our incentives and further clarify our intent.

But I want to reassure you that we’ve done so in a calm and measured way.

We have provided a year of notice. Changes would only come into law from April next year.

Our proposals also include grace periods to protect significant investments.

Conclusion

So to conclude, let me just recap what is Government doing in this space:

A stable, transparent, predictable long-term approach

Government proactively acting to de-risk and open up new opportunities for investors, consistent with both our 2050 climate change targets and our long-term economic plan

Government as a genuine partner in growth, in a clean energy sector that is affordable, scalable and sustainable

Thank you for your time and I look forward to the questions.

Gregory Barker – 2014 Speech at Energy from Waste Conference

gregorybarker

Below is the text of the speech made by Gregory Barker, the Climate Change Minister, at the Royal College of Surgeons in London on 27th February 2014.

It’s great to be here with you today and a fantastic opportunity to hear from the energy from waste sector.

The Conservative Manifesto in 2010 pledged that government would work towards a ‘zero waste’ economy recognising that waste is a valuable resource, not least as an important source of energy, is key to that vision.

Discussions at the conference so far have been very topical.

There’s been a strong focus on getting projects off the ground.

Which brings me to the three points I want to make today:

We want waste projects to continue to make a major contribution to delivering affordable, low carbon energy as part of the UK’s long-term economic plan.

But in order to take full advance of the potential we need to move to proper resource efficiency – re-engineering more waste, and move towards a more closed loop economy and recognise that effective use of waste as a valuable resource, will be a key part of creating a sustainable, competitive, innovative economy that can compete and win in the global race.

Although there are several excellent energy from waste systems I could highlight, I want to address our commitment to driving one in particular – heat networks.

To my first point, energy from waste has an important role to play in driving the UK’s long-term economic plan.

Indeed, by choosing the right location, the right technology and the right processing, energy from waste can help to deliver much needed long-term affordable, low carbon and secure energy for hardworking families.

The latest energy statistics show that, including landfill gas, energy from waste has exceeded 2TWh electricity generation. Enough to power around 470,000 homes.

The current incentive framework, the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff has supported a substantial rise in energy from waste projects.

The Renewables Roadmap reported 1.8GW of operational energy from waste plants.

With a further 1.6GW in the pipeline.

This includes the operation of the first-commercial scale gasification plants such as New Earth’s plant which is now operational in Avonmouth which is capable of generating 6MW electricity, with a further 6MW under construction.

A substantial increase in Anaerobic Digestion with key partnerships such as Tamar Energy and Sainsburys making great progress.

And the recent £22m funding commitment won by Biogen will allow them to roll 10 plants before 2017.

In addition to the 10 they currently operate and the 5 under construction.

In addition, as part of the Government’s current energy market reforms – the biggest overhaul of the UK sector since privatisation – we recently set out our approach to Contracts for Difference allocation.

This proposes a system of auctions for the more established technologies from the start of the CfD regime including landfill gas, sewage gas and Energy from Waste CHP.

For the less established technologies such as advanced conversion technologies there will be no requirement to allocate CfDs competitively from the beginning but our aim is that these will deploy at levels which enable continued cost reduction to ultimately support cheaper bills and cleaner energy in the long-term.

Those energy from waste technologies which are not eligible for CfDs may apply under the capacity market which we intend in 2014, for delivery of capacity in winter 2018-2019 (subject to state aid approval).

Yet despite the great progress that has been made around 20M tonnes of waste is still going into landfill.

Indeed, the 2012 Bioenergy Strategy showed a potential biomass waste availability in the region of 77 TWh to 2050.

DECC analysis also suggests that new technologies such as gasification could reduce their capital and operating costs by a third to 2050.

This brings me to my second point that in order to take full advance of the potential of energy from waste we need to move to proper models resource efficiency. Creating far less waste in the first place and then ensuring the waste we can’t avoid is used carefully and thoughtfully.

It has been estimated that moving to a more so-called ‘circular UK economy’ could increase the UK’s net exports by more than £20b and reduce business costs by over £50b per year.

Last year, there were an estimated 25M tonnes of Household waste of which 22 per cent went to energy recovery and 15M tonnes of food waste of which 20 per cent (c3M tonnes) was used for Anaerobic Digestion.

Imagine a world where all renewable waste was considered to be a useful resource which delivered local heat through the gas grid or district heating systems, reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and biorefinaries which replace oil to produce ultra-low carbon jet fuel; and renewable materials as well as heat and power.

Already, DECC is playing its part in helping to make this vision a reality by ensuring that innovative projects can lead to commercial success:

The DECC innovation programme has committed £6M to the Bioenergy Sustaining the Future (“BESTF”) competition.

One UK project selected for funding will receive up to €2.5m in grant funding from the scheme.

This project can use a variety of feedstocks including waste to produce renewable gas ready for grid injection helping to use local resources to decarbonise the gas grid.

Government part-funded the Energy Technology Institute £13M waste to gasification demonstration project.

Three projects were selected for the feasibility stage, and we expect one to be funded to a full demonstration project.

This is expected to deliver more reliable, more efficient and more cost effective waste to gasification technology in future.

Lastly, five bioenergy projects have been supported by the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund a £35M fund aimed at helping small businesses demonstrate innovative low carbon technologies.

Over £3.5m of grants have so far been placed with UK companies for energy from waste projects.

These include a grant for Antaco UK Ltd that will enable the industrial scale demonstration of a novel biocoal production technology and support for Yorkshire Water that will demonstrate commercial scale gasification of organic waste to renewable electricity and biogas.

So this Government is not only talking the talk but also walking the walk.

However, before I finish let me make my third point. I want to highlight one technology in particular with the potential to be a game changer –

Heat networks.

I want to urge the waste industry to look to the opportunity of generating heat to supply heat networks.

Supplying heat to a number of buildings or dwellings from a central heat production facility can often be more energy efficient, result in lower energy bills for consumers and deliver greater carbon savings than other types of system.

Heat networks have the potential to transform communities, over-time revolutionising the way we heat our homes, towns and cities.

Currently, 8,000 homes and 500 non-domestic buildings are served by heat networks that are successfully using energy from waste including Sheffield, Nottingham and Shetland.

To take the example of Sheffield, a waste management contract delivers over 100 thousand megawatts of heat to the local university, local authority, hospitals, and private and public sector offices and housing.

But more needs to be done and industry and local government alike face barriers in trying make better use of the heat from energy from waste plants.

Firstly, there are often challenges with establishing heat networks – heat from an energy from waste plant is only useful if there is an actual network to distribute that heat.

Secondly, planning, delays in securing consent and lack of strategic planning to co-locate energy from waste plants with heat customers can be an issue.

Thirdly, the wider policy framework and market for waste – including the growing trend in waste exports to the continent and challenges using commercial and industrial waste in energy from waste plants can pose problems.

Yet despite these challenges, right across the Government, we are determined to press on and deliver.

Yesterday, you will have heard from Defra about the wider policy framework including confirmation that a new call for evidence on waste exports will soon be issued.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to feed your thoughts and experience into this process.

I also hope you will have seen the package of reforms to the Judicial Review system announced earlier this month by the Ministry of Justice that are designed to speed up the running of the JR process.

Last year, DCLG consulted on an updated National Planning Policy on Waste, including energy from waste.

DCLG is currently considering consultation responses including the points raised on planning at the roundtables with a view to publishing the final policy later in the Spring.

For DECC’s part, you have already heard from David Wagstaff that we are making good progress in taking forward the commitments from our 2013 Heat Strategy as well as moving ahead with plans following the establishment of the new Heat Networks Delivery Unit (HNDU) – an innovative support model to help local authorities develop heat networks projects.

The support of the Unit is two-fold – It involves the direct engagement of the Unit’s engineering and commercial experts backed up by £7m funding for Local Authorities for important activities like feasibility studies, heat mapping and master planning.

Already, 2M of funding to 26 local authorities has been announced with 3 of these identifying energy from waste as a potential heat source for their future networks plans.

The Second Round bids are currently being assessed with further announcements to be made in early April.

So watch this space.

This funding support will run until March 2015 and I would encourage you take up the opportunities offered by the Delivery Unit through your Local Authority who is ideally placed to facilitate the development of heat networks by brokering agreements between heat providers, distributors and customers.

In addition, last year we published proposals to expand and improve the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive scheme setting out a range of new improvements designed to stimulate considerable growth in the deployment of renewable heating technologies including commercial and industrial energy from waste.

Today I am pleased to confirm that, subject to Parliamentary approval, we are on track to implement these changes from this Spring.

You will have also heard from Colin Church that DECC has published an additional chapter to the Energy from Waste guide.

The principles set out in this document are designed to help with longer term considerations to ensure that energy from waste projects are both consistent with the waste hierarchy as well as delivering our long term objectives for the energy sector.

So, in conclusion, under this historic Coalition government there is real ambition for your sector. We are seeing a rising level of investment, a healthy pipeline of projects and a supportive, cross-Whitehall framework for the energy from waste sector.

Already, the waste market is evolving to meet the longer-term challenges through the penetration of innovative new technologies in the waste market.

But if the sector is to go further we need to, scale up quicker and drive down costs faster.

To do that effectively we must take a collaborative approach.

Conferences like this one are key to that collaboration.

This government is determined to learn as much as it can from industry – we are your partners in growth. You are an integral part of our Long Term Economic Plan and as the UK economy continues to expand the need to develop new solutions to meet the increasing demand for affordable, low carbon energy will continue to grow as well.

Energy from waste has a central role to play as part of this. Let’s rise to that challenge together.

Thank you.

Greg Barker – 2014 Speech at Cleantech Conference

gregorybarker

Below is the text of the speech made by Greg Barker to the Cleantech Conference on 13th February 2014.

Innovation is at the heart of our Long-term Economic Plan and the low carbon sector is rich in innovation.

New low carbon technologies are essential to reduce the cost of energy for hard-pressed consumers, lower overall energy consumption, and help us gain a large piece of the massive global market for LCGES.

The Coalition recognises the important role innovation will play in the long-term future of the UK economy leading to new technologies, new jobs and new opportunities.

By targeting our innovation support effectively and fulfilling our innovation goals we could save the UK over £100bn in cost reductions to 2050.

Targeted innovation in energy efficiency alone could lead to savings worth up to £2,500 for each UK household and business up to 2050.

That’s enough to build 14,000 community hospitals, over 5,000 new schools or over 130 Olympic stadiums, and generate UK-based business activity contributing tens of billions of pounds to GDP over the same period.

Recognising the huge potential, this Government has taken the decision to invest in supporting businesses and academics to undertake energy innovation, despite the challenging economic climate over the past few years.

As a result, the UK now has the sixth biggest share of the £3.4 trillion global market for low carbon goods and environmental services. And by driving innovation we are putting in place the right technologies to produce cleaner energy, at an affordable cost to the consumer.

But before I go any further, let me tell you the 3 key points I would like to make today:

Firstly, we have worked hard since 2010 to put in place much of the foundations to unlock low carbon innovation and the development of the smarter, more integrated solutions that will be the lifeblood of a future, affordable energy system.

Secondly, the Coalition isn’t just building on the status quo. We are putting in place the first ever Low Carbon Innovation Strategic Framework, providing our vision for low carbon innovation as part of our long-term economic plan.

Thirdly, although there are many terrific technologies I could choose to expand upon today, I want to highlight our commitment to driving one in particular. One that has the potential to play a revolutionary role in our future energy system – energy storage.

Firstly, this Government is embarking upon the biggest transformation of the UK’s energy system since privatisation.

Over the next 20 to 30 years this will lead to a profound shift from highly centralised fossil fuel burning power plants to a cleaner, low carbon, more distributed, interconnected and smarter energy market.

No-one knows exactly what the future will look like but it is not too great a stretch of the imagination to picture a population transported by electric vehicles, living in remotely-controlled homes, and generating energy from waste materials which can be fed into a local grid.

Already, thanks to recent innovations, such a vision is less futuristic than one might think.

Newcastle has recently started installing 580 electric vehicle charging points across the region as part of its efforts to become the UK’s electric car capital.

The UK is leading the way in smart grid development across the EU.

And, overall, since 2012, over 150 entrepreneurial companies have been provided with grants to support the development of innovative, low carbon technologies through DECC’s £200m innovation programme.

Indeed, I am delighted to see that nine of the 40 companies presenting at this event have been awarded an innovation grant from DECC.

And over 50 companies have been supported through our broadest innovation programme – the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund.

This is a £35m fund to support the development and demonstration of novel, innovative technologies within the energy efficiency, building technologies, power generation and energy storage sectors. Since the fund launched in Autumn 2012, £25m has been awarded in EEF grants to innovative, clean technology companies – the majority being start-ups and SMEs.

They include a whole host of exciting novel technologies including projects such as:

– Kite Power Solutions’ high altitude wind generating system that uses compact, inexpensive kites to capture wind energy with the potential to transform the economics of wind power generation.

– Naked Energy and Natural Technology Developments’ hybrid solar projects which are pioneering affordable, higher performance PV-thermal panels capable of producing both electricity and heat.

– Antaco’s small-scale bio-coal from biowaste production plant which could enable commercial production of biocoal by using a cost effective engineering solution.

– And Econovate who are using low-grade waste paper and cardboard diverted from landfills to create superior construction products.

I encourage you all to see our website for details on how to apply for The Third phase of the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund which opened at end of January and offers up to £2m for projects.

Now let me talk in detail about our low carbon strategic framework.

I am clear about the need to provide long-term certainty to businesses, innovators and investors around future priorities.

For the first time, this Government is putting in place a coherent cross-Whitehall strategy spelling out our long-term energy innovation ambitions.

And today, I can tell you that David Willetts and I have published the Strategic Framework for Low Carbon Technologies.

Developed by 17 organisations comprising the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group, the Framework will give greater clarity on where public support for low carbon technologies will be targeted. It will identify the areas that provide the greatest opportunity for the UK to bring down the cost of energy and deliver economic benefits, laying out decision making principles and, importantly, the evidence base that sits behind this.

It will set out core low carbon innovation priorities to 2020 as well as the key technologies that will benefit from public sector innovation worth £1billion to 2015.

Technologies such as carbon capture and storage, nuclear, electricity networks and energy storage.

Heat, offshore wind, marine, buildings, hydrogen, bioenergy, and the industrial sector.

Technologies that can help to bring down energy costs to consumers and reduce our overall energy needs.

Technologies that are capable of building a cleaner, safer energy system for the UK and security of supply for generations to come.

Thirdly, I want to pick out a specific example of Government support for one area of low carbon innovation with the potential to be a real game-changer – energy storage.

Energy storage is set to play a revolutionary role in our future energy system. It has been identified as one of the UK’s current eight ‘great technologies’ with world-leading research capabilities and the potential to support UK growth.

Not only can energy storage support the deployment of renewable heat and electricity generation, especially intermittent renewables such as solar, tidal and wind, as well as electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies.

But by storing electricity generated at times of low demand for use at times of high demand, energy storage technologies can help to maintain the security of our electricity supply.

Overall, energy storage innovation has the potential to save the energy system over £4bn by 2050, and innovation could support the growth of a UK energy storage industry and contribute an estimated £11.5bn to UK GDP by 2050.

Today, I can also announce the final winning project from DECC’s Energy Storage Technology Demonstration Competition: the Viridor-Highview liquid air energy storage demonstration project.

DECC has awarded a contract of over £8m to the partnership of Viridor Waste Management Limited and UK small enterprise Highview Power Storage.

The demonstration project involves the design, construction and testing of a 5MW version of Highview’s liquid air energy storage system to demonstrate its potential to cost-effectively address grid-scale storage needs for the UK’s electricity network.

Storage systems, like the liquid air energy system in the Viridor-Highview project, can help us to make even better use of our intermittent renewable resources. They could also help to reduce energy peak demand to give us greater security of supply, reduce network costs and save money for consumers.

Storage systems could also be used by local communities in more remote areas alongside renewable generation to avoid power cuts.

This new demonstration project builds on the existing work we have already been developing through our two energy storage innovation support competitions.

Since launching in October 2012, the competitions have already awarded more than £7.5m to twenty-two storage projects, including three major technology demonstration projects spanning a wide range of technologies.

These technologies include small-scale battery storage devices for the home, redox flow batteries which could store surplus energy generated at night from wind turbines, and other technologies, including recycled electric vehicle batteries, mechanical flywheels, hydrogen storage and pumped hydro storage.

Thanks to government support, the UK is now in a leading position to provide world-class academic expertise and industrial innovation across all these areas.

So, in conclusion, this Government is delivering a clear framework to support investment for the remainder of the decade. Investment in innovations that are essential to delivering clean, affordable energy for consumers.

But we are to succeed, we must collaborate. Conferences like this one are key to that collaboration, and so I offer my thanks to Eco-Connect for arranging the event; and of course my congratulations to the Viridor-Highview liquid air energy storage demonstration project.

This Government is determined to learn as much as it can from industry and as the UK economy continues to grow the need to develop new solutions to meet the increasing demand for energy has never been more pressing.

Low carbon innovation is at the heart of this.