Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

The EU’s influence on UK energy policy

The demand to reduce carbon dioxide emissions imposed by UK and Scottish climate legislation has resulted in crazy energy policies, damage to industrial production and increased fuel bills, and as the EU Withdrawal Bill works its way through Parliament, it would be useful to unravel and analyse some of the historical influence of the EU prior to the passage of the Climate Change Acts in Westminster and Holyrood. Certainly, when parliamentarians realize how they were hoodwinked and dictated to, they will - once the UK leaves the EU - want to abolish all legislation that penalizes carbon dioxide emissions - if we are to revitalise power stations, increase manufacturing and employment, reduce bills and become a truly prosperous nation again.

The EU provided and continues to provide funding to Friends of the Earth.  This is significant because Friends of the Earth and Friends of the Earth Scotland, had a huge influence via their staff, volunteers and supporters, in the passage of the Climate Change bills in London and Edinburgh. The following unedited quote from the South Hams Friends of the Earth site which pre-dates the passage of the UK Climate Change Act, shows their campaigning zeal, knowledge about procedures at Westminster, direct lobbying influence and ability to plan ahead:

'October update on the Climate Change Bill South Hams Friends of the Earth

Everything seems to be moving so fast on the Big Ask campaign for a climate change bill, that I thought it might be helpful to post an update of just a few of the things that have been happening...

1) David Miliband and the Queen's Speech.
Quite a few major media stories in the last few weeks have strongly hinted that we are likely to get some form of Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech. See below for some thoughts from Martyn Williams, the Senior Parliamentary campaigner, on what this might mean for FOE.

2) Queen's Speech and I Count on Nov 4th.
The date of the Queen's Speech is November 15, so any lobbying up until that date is still really important. In particular it's vital that the rally in Trafalgar Square on Sat Nov 4th (a week tomorrow) is a real success, and show politicians just how many people are concerned about climate change. Please do come along to the event, and bring as many people as you can with you.

3) The Early Day Motion 178 - breaks the 400 mark
Although the focus of our ask over the last month has been directed on the Climate Change Bill being in the Queen's Speech, the postcards asking MPs to sign the Early Day Motion 178 have still be flooding in. The result? A whopping 410 MPs have now signed the EDM which has broken the highly symbolic 400 barrier - only the 4th EDM ever to do so!

4) The Conservatives launch their own bill campaign
The Conservatives have now launched their own website supporting their own version of the Climate Change Bill:

Again, in Martyn's words:
I know some people will worry they have nicked our campaign ... however, I think we should look on this positively. This is fantastic, showing there is yet more momentum behind the campaign. The competition rages on - Labour announcing a Bill in yesterday's Guardian, Cameron bashing for a better one today. Sure it gets a bit hairy at times like this - but that is because we have elevated this issue, and our solution of a Bill, to the very top of politics - and it is always rough up there. It is an incredible achievement.

The other point to make is that the Bill the Conservatives have drafted and put on the website is very radical and an extremely good version of what we are calling for - with annual targets set on the basis of science by and independent body that will not even be whoilly appointed by Government (though there is a bit of a worry about international trading schemes). This is really important for the future debates on the Bill in Parliament - it means we can continue to count on them to back up a tough Bill.

So, any old lefties out there, please swallow your pride and use the Conservative's website to email Tony and call for a Bill. Remember - as usual - the more calls he gets the better.

More thoughts from Martyn Williams about David Miliband and the Climate Change Bill
About the recent news stories concerning David Miliband suggesting there will be some form of Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech.

Its not a cast-iron guarantee of course, and there are opponents within the Government who probably are not best pleased about it - but it is a bloody good sign. We of course must keep the pressure up, because if we all go quiet now the promise can be dropped - we need to keep it in the news so that if it is dropped the Government look bad for it. We already have lots of ways of planning to do this - so it is not new work - but we can't let up. "I Count" on November 4th is important of course, as is the new research we are producing, and a few high profile people etc we are lining up to keep this in the news.

However getting the Bill in the Queen's Speech is only the first step. It is a huge achievement and will be deserving of a massive celebration if/when it is confirmed, but we will then have the job of making sure the Bill is a decent one. The signs on whether it will be are mixed and unclear at the moment. It has been reported the Bill is unlikely to include "binding annual targets" - but whether that means they will be binding targets spread over a few years rather than being annual, annual targets that are not binding, or no targets at all is impossible to say right now. Miliband has also said we must not just legislate for targets, but also for the means to achieve them. On this we wholeheartedly agree, and we would love to see a Bill with lots of new policies to cut emissions - providing it also includes the framework we need to make sure they add up to adequate cuts. This shouldn't be an argument for measures or targets - we must have both.

But even if you believe the worst will happen and we will get a truly dreadful Bill in the Queen's Speech, this is still progress. We now have 400 MPs backing our ideas, and if we play our tactics right in Parliament we can use these MPs to win votes to keep amending a bad Bill until it becomes a good one. This won't be easy - we will all have to work hard to keep some MPs to their previous promises if the Whips offices start twisting arms to get them to vote for something weaker - but is one hell of a lot harder if we don't get in the Queen's Speech at all.

The other really encouraging thing is it suggests that the new DEFRA regime is using the pressure generated by all this campaigning to push for change in Government. In the past the reaction to pressure has been to attack us rather than use it. I know we'll probably fall out with Miliband at some point - but I think he deserves a pat on the back for this.

Getting even further into the realms of speculation...what might this mean for timing? Well probably the Bill will be late, given DEFRA are probably behind other departments in preparing it (other Bills will have been planned for months if not years). This means it being published and first debated around (say) April, then the amending of it to get it as we want through May, June and July. Then there are Lords stages as well - and we wouldn't expect the Bill to complete all this and become law much before next October.

So all in all a great way to finish the Big Ask, Big Month, Big Lobby - but not, of course the end of the work or the campaign. In fact, things may get even more fast and furious once we have to respond to the Parliamentary timetable - but they will also be more exciting and more rewarding if we win.'

Similar campaigning techniques were used in Scotland: lobbying of MSPs by FoES staff emailing over 'research', paying calls (the Scottish Parliament is only a few minutes from the FoES office), encouraging supporters to pressurize their MSPs to support the Scottish Climate Change bill by sending postcards, holding demonstrations outside and then, in 2009, storming the Scottish Parliament to browbeat constituency MSPs standing amongst them in an excited and loud crowd.There is no doubt that without FoES there would be no climate legislation in Scotland.

Bryony Worthington, later to be made a baroness for her work as 'an architect of the UK's Climate Change Act,' worked with Friends of the Earth from 2000 as a climate change campaigner before drafting the climate legislation that got passed by Labour in 2008.

Funds from the EU were pivotal to the success of the Big Ask and other campaigns run by UK 'voluntary' organisations, the success of which was due in particular to the grassroots character of the campaigns which involved community projects and Left-leaning, religious and caring individuals who, perhaps needing a cause-like-religion after the failure of communism, were easily led up the 'we must save the planet by reducing carbon dioxide emissions' path by UNEP, UNFCCC and Green-Left EU propaganda.

Around this time, about 46% of Friends of the Earth funding was coming from the EU , amounting to £1,195,259. Without it, where would the money have come from to print all the postcards sent to MPs and MSPs, organize all those influential conferences, demonstrations, workshops and films and pay the salaries of Friends of the Earth and WWF staff and favoured academics throughout the UK? Friends of the Earth knows how to run a successful campaign: flood the public with propaganda, hold spectacular events and conferences, show films and, most importantly, get constituents to instruct their parliamentarians to support bills on their way through parliament, or else…

Thereafter, in the case of the climate change bills, all that was needed was an appalling lack of due diligence by all the parliamentarians except five brave Westminster MPs, and cross-party support ensured the success of the most anti-people legislation in British history.

Not only did the EU have an influence on climate legislation via the Friends of the Earth, it also had a direct influence which fundamentally affected British industrial, transport and energy policies:

In the mid-1990s, Directives initiated and imposed by the EU Commission influenced UK transport policy.These were underpinned by the strategy to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce fuel use and undertaken in the context of 'international efforts to combat climate change within the mandate decided upon at the First Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Berlin 1995)' with the medium ­term objective being 'to reach an average CO2­ emission value for newly registered cars in the European Union corresponding to 120 g CO2/km…' which 'should be the subject of close monitoring…' and the EU Commission proposing 'priority actions' like agreements with industry together with market incentives and consumer information…' within the shortest possible time scales'…and 'an increase of the minimum excise duties on road fuels … an important element in an efficient strategy aiming at the reduction of CO2 emissions in the transport sector…' and so on.

And: 'When first published the Government proposed that the (Climate Change) Act would set a target of a 60% cut (in carbon dioxide emissions), excluding international aviation and shipping, a figure that had been a Government ambition for some years. The original 60% figure was adopted based on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, made in their June 2000 report Energy - The Changing Environment. The Royal Commission went on to say that there should be an 80% cut by 2100, and that the 550 ppm upper limit should be 'kept under review'.[4] They restated the importance of this in January 2006.'  [5]

The Royal Commission's figures were based on a June 1996 decision of the EU Council of Ministers to limit emissions to 550 ppm, contained in their Community Strategy on Climate Change.[6] This, in turn, was based on the 1995 IPCC Second Assessment Report…' (Underlining and bold added for emphasis.)


Environmentalists wanted drastic cuts to carbon dioxide emissions viewing this as a method of closing down industries and reducing economic growth, while any chance to control energy producers and utility companies by nationalisation, appealed to Leftists as a great way to defeat capitalism. So a twisted but powerful alliance was born.

IPCC scientists' computer model of a 'human fingerprint' causing raised global atmospheric temperature was grabbed by the media who ran with the story. (See Bernie Lewin's detailed and excellent account of these events in Searching for the Catastrophe Signal.)

Directives to reduce CO2 emissions were imposed throughout the EU.

The EU lavishly funded Friends of the Earth.

UK and Scottish Parliaments passed the Climate Change Acts whose main purpose is to discourage fossil fuel use.

The UK Climate Change Act led to the establishment of the Department of Energy and Climate Change (shut down two years ago), 'carbon budgets' to be regularly determined by the Climate Change Committee, the Green Investment Bank and Renewables Obligations (forced upon utility companies so that they would develop renewables, the cost of which is paid for as 'green levies' by the public via their bills.)

In Scotland, energy policy is overseen by the Decarbonisation Division of the Energy and Climate Change Directorate. The De-carbon-isation Division…? Sensible government influenced by the EU and Green-Left non-sense.

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