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Can Cameron be trusted on the environment?

George Osborne’s speech at the Conservative Party conference was reported as the Tories retreating from their pre-election enthusiasm for matters green and the end of UK ambition on climate change. He did, after all, say that “environmental laws and regulations are piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies” and that we should “resolve to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe”. What does this mean for UK policy?

First, let’s get some facts straight. Contrary to some dodgy reporting in the Daily Mail, for example, green measures have not added that much to household bills. Energy regulator Ofgem says green measures account for a total of 4 per cent of the cost of domestic gas bills, mostly those to tackle fuel poverty by helping poor people improve the energy efficiency of their houses.

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