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Cameron comments on renewables a ‘damp squib’

26 April 2012

Responding to comments by David Cameron at the start of the final day of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) in London today, WWF said it was imperative the Prime Minister boosts investor confidence in renewables and provides policy clarity to businesses.

Commenting on the Prime Minister's statement, David Nussbaum, chief executive at WWF-UK, said: “We were led to expect a major policy intervention on the environment, a keynote speech, from the Prime Minister this week, only for his speech to be suddenly downgraded; what we got today was a damp squib.

"We heard yesterday from ministers in countries like Germany and Denmark who clearly get the scale of the challenge and the opportunity, but it's not clear this government does. They are talking in terms of hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the renewable energy sector, whereas the PM today was only talking about a few hundred.

“We agree that renewables must be 'financially sustainable', but businesses and investors need consistent messages from across government, and not the series of ill-judged attacks in recent months, including from the Prime Minister’s own Treasury and some backbenchers."

David Nussbaum, who yesterday chaired an event at the start of CEM3 featuring climate change and energy minister Greg Barker and ministers from Germany and Denmark, noted that on a WWF trip to Svalbard in the Arctic six years ago, Cameron had spoken passionately the urgent need to tackle climate change and decarbonise our societies.

He said: “Back in 2006 we in WWF were really inspired by David Cameron's commitment to environmental issues in opposition, and struck by his assertion that we couldn't abandon environmental concerns due to austerity. Six years on we’re still waiting for a major speech on the environment from David Cameron, but this wasn't it.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) is taking place in London on 25–26 April 2012, during which David Cameron was expected to deliver his first major speech on the environment since becoming Prime Minister: http://www.cleanenergyministerial.org/events/cem3/  

2. WWF-UK hosted a press conference on global clean energy at the start of CEM3 on 25 April at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. It was chaired by David Nussbaum (WWF-UK) and was attended by UK Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, Leader of WWF-International’s Global Climate and Energy Initiative Samantha Smith, Denmark’s Climate Change and Energy Minister Martin Lidegaard and Germany’s Deputy Director General International Cooperation Dr Karten Sach.

3. DECC: Prime Minister heralds rapid progress of the UK's green economy and outlines his vision for the future (26.04.12): http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn12_054/pn12_054.aspx  

For further information, please contact:

George Smeeton, Tel: 01483 412 388, Mob: 07917 052 948, email: GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk