DECC abolished: Leadsom to Environment, Javid gets Local Government, Clark to Business and Energy

DECC abolish

The government has announced it is abolishing the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which regulates some onshore oil and gas operations.

Most of the work will go to the renamed Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under a new Secretary of State, Greg Clark, the former Communities Secretary.

He has been replaced by the former Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, who will now make the decision on Cuadrilla’s fracking appeals in Lancashire.

The former Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, a supporter of fracking and Brexit, is the new Environment Secretary, replacing Liz Truss.

The only government statement on the abolition of DECC was this comment from Mr Clark:

“I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.”

But Paul Waugh, executive editor for politics at the Huffington Post, quoted Downing as saying the UK government would continue to meet its international climate change commitments.

The Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil, said he was astonished the decision to abolish DECC.

“DECC’s disappearance raises urgent questions. To whom falls the central statutory obligation, contained in the Climate Change Act 2008, to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 80% from their 1990 baseline? Which Department will take responsibility for the energy and climate aspects of negotiations to leave the EU? Who will champion decarbonisation in Cabinet? Who will drive innovation in the energy sector?”

The shadow energy secretary, Labour’s Barry Gardiner tweeted action from the new government was “overwhelmingly negative”, compared with its positive rhetoric.

Barry Gardner tweet

Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth, Craig Bennett, said:

“This is shocking news. Less than a day into the job and it appears that the new Prime Minister has already downgraded action to tackle climate change, one of the biggest threats we face.

“This week the government’s own advisors warned of ever growing risks to our businesses, homes and food if we don’t do more to cut fossil fuel pollution.

“If Theresa May supports strong action on climate change, as she’s previously said, it’s essential that this is made a top priority for the new business and energy department and across government.”

The former Labour leader and Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Milliband, said it was “just plain stupid”.

Ed Milliband

The Green MP Caroline Lucas described the abolition of DECC as a backward step.

Caroline Lucas

But Lee Petts, of the Onshore Energy Service Group, representing supply chain companies to the oil and gas industry, tweeted::

“Seems perfectly sensible to me – climate change doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it’s inextricably linked to energy and industry”

And  Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit wrote:

“Creating this new department opens up the exciting option of an innovation and industry strategy that enables companies in the clean energy supply chain, including steel, to expand and thrive together. But they’ll need a strong British market. Within the last few months, the National Infrastructure Commission and energy industry big cheeses, through Energy UK, have said that the UK should continue building a smart, flexible low-carbon grid – so there’s a clear pathway laid out for ministers, and the rationale for following it hasn’t changed a bit.”

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22 replies »

  1. So now we know, Teresa May has just plunged us all into a situation where climate change is no longer an issue to her government. Is this the ‘gold standard’ regulations we were promised? Obviously she did not like the report on climate effects of fracking. This is the message we get, say what we want you to say or we will abolish you. This is not the actions of a democratic representative, this is the first step of a dictator.
    God help us all.

  2. Two fingers up to the backward lefties. Roll on fracking. And before you say anything I have a PhD, speak 5 languages, NED on three boards, MD of UK SME. Director in two European countries. I am what you class as an “ignorant right winger” where as I class the name callers; lost causes that are simply not very intelligent but have a disproportionate loud voice courtesy of the online world.
    Fracking will go ahead 100%. If you want a pet project to turn to then focus all your effort on Hinkley nuclear proposal, from a financial perspective it is simply ludicrous.

    • Mr M – Enjoy your “triumph” while you can. Revel in the wonder of your quite amazing commercial achievements. MD of UK SME? Goodness me!

      If you want a pet project to turn to then focus all your effort on fracking, from a financial perspective it is simply ludicrous. You do KNOW the difference between the well head price of gas and the projected UK extraction costs don’t you? Ah – perhaps you don’t?

      • John Hobson, sounds like you have it all figured out! Can you tell us how you know the price of gas two years out? I’m so interested to know! And how is it that you have such superior knowledge as compared to the geologists and strategists at the gas companies who aim to extract gas from onshore wells in the UK? I’m very, very impressed!

  3. Clearly two of the languages are ‘gutter sign’, (Two fingers up to the backward lefties) and ‘offensive, (lost causes that are simply not very intelligent). Having a PhD clearly does not give you the credibility you crave. Stick to commenting on the issue of the post please.

  4. Lee Pett’s comments says it all, business, industry and energy production working together to tackle climate change responsibilities.

    • Lee Petts must have a struggle remembering who is representing this week 🙂

      Is it the Onshore Energy Service Group? Is it the IoD NW? Is it the discredited industry front North West Energy Task Farce? Is it Remsol? Or is it the NWETF retread Lancashire For Shale? He does get about doesn’t he! And he maintains that there’s nothing in this for him. Bless his little backingfracking socks!

    • Hmmmm. Must be taking a cue from the US where business, industry, and energy production have come together very well to engineer a renaissance in manufacturing, low cost energy, energy independence, dramatically cleaner air, and a growing renewables portfolio.

  5. Mr M aka Lee Petts – such arrogance and nastiness will get you nowhere. And for someone who purports to be so intelligent by stereotyping people in the way you have, you show your ignorance. For your information – many of those people you have insulted have degrees both in the arts and sciences, speak many different languages, own SME’s etc and are from all political parties. And given considering and meeting climate change targets is a statutory obligation in the UK and a global commitment – I think you will find climate change will still be very much on the agenda. Indeed we, those you insult, will ensure it does. Without CCS, which is unproven and expensive shale gas has a very fragile future and that is of course if it can even produce at economic amounts in the UK. It failed in both Denmark and Poland don’t forget.

    • I doubt Mr M = Mr Petts – The latter’s linked in page doesn’t mention a PhD or speaking multiple languages and Lee is hardly backward in self-promotion 😉 But surely Mr M should be calling himself Dr M unless, of course, he is “doing a Leadsom”

  6. The tragedy will be for our children and grandchildren! The consequences of our irresponsible activities will be reaped by them! Fracking is a backward energy, supported by money making opportunists. Other European countries are moving forward to clean energy, supplying their needs, investing in their future, sustainably!

  7. Fascinating that the news that the DECC will be disbanded sparks little more than triumphant crowing and abusive comments from those who claim to be intelligent. The DECC was in part investigating the climate effects of the drilling industry and hence to make public evidence for us us all to make our judgements upon this current trend. True intelligence is to recognise we live on a thin life zone on the planets surface and it is fragile and we are despoiling it faster than it can recover, it can take thousands if not millions of years to stabilise after the effects of natural events such as the deccan gaps which were volcanos caused by the land surface moving over a caldera. Millions of tons of polluting elements were released at that time causing an ice age that lasted thousands of years. there have been many such similar events, the great Permian extinction destroyed 90% of all life on earth, and one of the major causes of that was the heating of the sub surface rocks causing the release of millions of tons of methane into the atmosphere, sound familiar? And yet here we are doing it to ourselves without thought of the future for our children and their children and so on, generations to come. Short term profit must not be the only criteria for industrialising the earths resources. Climate change is happening now, not tomorrow or a long time in the future, it is here with us now and the process is accelerating, wake up and look around you, do you think these unprecedented weather systems are normal fluctuations in the climate? Forget methane from animals, vast herds of creatures roamed the earth for millions of years before humans came along, and yet oxygen levels were higher than they are now and CO2 levels lower, methane was trapped under the estuaries of vast rivers and continental shelves, and remained so until we started to mess with the climate. the last ice age lasted for 100o’s of years and the earth is slowly getting warmer, but not exponentially, it is a gradual process, it is man who has upset the balance and speeded up the warming process, the sun goes through hot and cold cycles and similarly produces short term warming and cooling, but look at the figures and the exponential growth in climate change since human industrialisation far exceeds these processes and we are rapidly destroying the planets ability to regulate the changes, the rain forests and natural ice formation, hence the rapid changes.
    OK history lesson over, it needed to be said for those who can at least consider whether we are sliding down a slippery slope towards catastrophic climate change that will make the present fluctuations pale in comparison.

    I think i will preserve some of these ‘intelligent’ comments for the future generations to come, who will be asking questions why they have to suffer for the decisions made in their past, our present, We will not be there, but i can only imagine what they will think of such intelligent comments.
    For my part I hope our children will forgive us.

  8. You are all missing the key point in all this. DECC or no DECC, U.K. Shale gas or not, we will continue to use a lot of gas until 2040 at least. The only other viable option is coal like Germany. The U.K. Using CCS or not makes no difference to climate change globally. How do use CCS on your central heating system. Look at the four national grid scenarios just published. All use a lot of gas.

  9. Oh, i do apologise, i had no intention of missing the point, so i thought OK like in all things i looked it up:
    43% from UK gas extraction, mainly offshore, 44% from European and of that Norwegian 21% and Russia 33% and about 13% from tankers, sources include Trinidad and Tobago, USA, Libya, Iran, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Yemen, even Australia.
    As regards pricing it goes something like this, Norway £2.66 billion, Qatar £2.551 billion, Nigeria £250 million, Yemen £145.513 million, Trinidad and Tobago £116.1 million, the other figures seem rather harder to get. now if we were to use all the gas from fracking we could reduce these overseas imports to zero, and then export the rest, could’nt we?
    Or can we? from the figures the minimum amount we pay is something like £7.31 billion and that fluctuates. I have read, please confirm this if its true, that gas from UK fracking will be sold overseas, not in the UK? This will lead to an insane situation where we export gas for profit to private companies, but import gas at equally exorbitant rates to heat homes and run power stations at the tax payers expense? It goes right back to the question i have been asking, Cui Bono, who profits? I can see the draw of such enormous profits, but is it a benefit, and to whom?
    What of investing in renewable sources, that seems to have been dropped by this government, why? i know perfectly well why, renewables are cheaper than fossil fuels that all ready fuel vast profits. If renewables are fully funded and taken to their fullest extent, that means less profit, less tax, less money flushing around.
    its not that fracking cannot benefit the UK public, its that it doesnt, and it will not benefit anything other than the drive for profit unless it is operated sensibly with the best interests of everyone. Fracking is not safe, its not sufficiently regulated and what regulations there are are not enforced, monitoring by the Environment Agency seems to be zero and this government have disbanded the only source of information that would allow us to ascertain the wider effects on climate change. The reason for my reservations is that it seems to be little more than a profit motivated exercise and all the arguments about benefit for the UK public seem to evaporate as soon as you look at them.
    Still tired and bored? not me, and i still have not mentioned the disposal of nuclear waste scenario.

    • Oh Phil! So wordy, but so misguided!

      UK gas won’t be exported unless there is economic incentive to do so and there is not.

      You need to take a quaalude, or possibly three, and learn to relax a bit. Sure, firms will profit from gas extraction. Get used to this idea as it is profit motivation that affords you all the creature comforts you enjoy today! Risky regulation? Hardly, my man. Fracking has been going on for forty-plus years and millions of wells have been fracked. Not a single person has died from it. The risks are as significant as they are for most industrial operations.

      Just take a deep breath, Phil. That’s it. Inhale and exhale. A brown paper bag may come in handy!

      • What a curious reply? As a retired engineer i always look at the wording, if someone asks for proof a bridge will stand up, i would not advise them to take a drug and learn to relax a bit and breath into a paper bag. i suspect such a response would lead to an invitation to depart rather rapidly.

        So, i will take that deep breath (several in fact, and breath out too) and suggest you do too. You are not breathing anything from a paper bag are you? No? Good.

        Oh dear, where to start? OK, firstly i am rarely if ever misguided, this implies guidance, guidance from whom? when? what guidance am i being mislead by? Please expand on that. i tend to make up my own mind about things based upon good engineering principles and facts, without the use of general meaningless ambiguous terminology, something your reply implies fluency in..

        I am not in the habit of taking mind altering drugs, your familiarity with the terminology suggests you are acquainted with such doubtful and probably dangerous medication. Perhaps you would rather we all take such things and hence we will be easy to fool every time the profit motive exceeds the advice of simple common sense.

        i have no qualms about the profit motive, but i do have reservations when such practices damage people, the land, the water, the air and plunge the world into more climate change. That is entirely reasonable and something you would do well to consider before replying in this way.

        The ‘creature comforts’ you allude to are fast disappearing, we find ourselves in more danger from self inflicted climate change and pollution now than ever before in the history of the human race. What few creature comforts i do enjoy these days are put in jeopardy by the processes you espouse, that does not assure continuation of such comforts at all.

        More of the same, is not the answer to our problems. Albert Einstein said that we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that caused the problem in the first place. In other words we should avoid all further investment into the same old fossil fuel technology and look towards all the alternative methods that will not destroy our communities and pollute the earth in the process.
        Yes, there will be gaps before we perfect these processes and they brought on line, but at least our children will thank us for a future where they can breath the clean air, drink the clean water and grow unpolluted food on the clean land. Look around you, we are fast losing those abilities, i fear for the lives of our children.

        Risky regulations? Yes, the climate change report that Teresa May ignored and closed down the DECC for indicates that the law is not in the least bit prepared to deal with the implications of an industrialised countryside and the laws controlling drilling are just that, drilling only, there are no regulations suitable to monitor and regulate fracking, or protect the local people from, they simply do not exist and the one body we could have expected to regulate this process, the utter failure of the planning process proves that even the minimum protections are compromised. The Environment Agency has not attended one drilling site and has no legal teeth to regulate the practice if it did so.

        Fracking has not gone on for forty plus years in its present incarnation, modern high pressure fracking techniques are less than 10 years old and mostly have been cobbled together from drilling processes unrelated to modern fracking procedures.

        I am amazed you claim that not a single person has died from fracking, the industry has bound people to non disclosure agreements to enable them to receive any compensation at all. The figures are hidden from view, its as simple as that, many organisations will simply not discuss it as their funding often relies upon their compliance and silence. They would rather keep their jobs and their pensions. Let us squash all the non-disclosure agreements and then we will look at the facts.

        There, can i breath out now? Oh, sorry i forgot, i dont need your permission to do anything other than reply politely to your very odd and somewhat drug promoting reply.

        Oh, yes, i found a use for that brown paper bag you referred to, and your reply, the one, briefly contained the other, before it too became ashes, both figuratively and objectively.

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