Blue Sky Thinking – BBC Radio 5 Live


radio 5 live





I think that government has got far too centralised, it started under Thatcher, was taken further forward by Labour, and the level of centralisation has now really got quite ridiculous.

I would want to push a lot more power and authority, certainly over finance, out to cities and communities, so that they can determine things for themselves, and so that we can have some real accountability for the decisions that politicians make.

I would certainly want to keep a Department of Energy and Climate Change. The idea that somehow the free market is going to solve the problem of climate change and still leave us with civilisation, is a bit more optimistic than I could be.

I am much more concerned that we make sure we insulate every building in Britain, for instance, to a very high degree, and giving every single home and community in this country the right and ability to generate their own electricity from renewable sources, I think if we did those sort of things we would be helping enormously to lower bills for people, reduce fuel poverty, increase the competitiveness of our industry, and help with reducing the burden on the NHS. We would do all that and get reductions in carbon emissions as well.

The problem is that you get rid of a lot of bureaucrats telling you what you need to do to deal with the climate, and you have one bureaucrat deciding what the level of tax should be, and the truth is that no one has any idea what level of tax gets you to a safe climate. If you don’t believe in climate change, then you can come up with an idea that has no chance of success.

We should let every city, community and home in Britain decide for itself, to do that you have to set up the right regulatory framework, and you have to set up the right energy system. That’s something that government has to do, because nobody else will.






About tomburke

Tom Burke is the Chairman of E3G, Third Generation Environmentalism, and an Environmental Policy Adviser (part time) to Rio Tinto plc. He is a Visiting Professor at both Imperial and University Colleges, London. He is a member of the External Review Committee of Shell and the Sustainable Sourcing Advisory Board of Unilever and a Trustee of the Black-E Community Arts Project, Liverpool.
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