BBC NEWS | Talk about Newsnight | How green is your government Minister?
The Government makes a lot of its new green credentials. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown jointly launched Sir Nicholas Stern’s report on the potentially apocalyptic consequences of global warming and, to underline the government’s commitment, it announced a climate change bill in the Queen’s speech.
Indeed, back in May Mr Blair appointed a Minster with special responsibility for climate change. He is Ian Pearson, the MP for Dudley South, and yesterday I shared a platform with him at a conference on sustainable development.
It was my job to open the conference. I ran through some of the things my family and I have been doing as Ethical Man and then I set the delegates a little ethical living test. I asked a series of questions about their lifestyles including whether they had made the switch to a green electricity supplier.
It was one of the first things I did after I was coerced by my editor into becoming Ethical Man and it did more to cut the carbon footprint of our home that any of my other ethical exertions.
For a small premium, our new supplier guarantees that, for every unit of electricity we use, it will buy a unit of electricity from a renewable source. According to my carbon guru, Professor Tim Jackson of University of Surrey, switching supplier will cut the annual carbon emissions my family is responsible for by about one ton – that’s ten per cent of our total emissions.
This was a pretty green audience and a good few of them had signed up with green suppliers or had opted for one of the green tariffs offered by most electricity companies. So had the Minister done the same I wanted to know?
Imagine my surprise when Mr Pearson admitted he hadn’t. The Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment said that he was in the process of doing so.
Given that changing to a green electricity supplier or opting for a green tariff takes a single telephone call and a couple of minutes I trust he has done so now. If not here are a few contacts for you Ian: you could see if your current electricity company offers a green tariff or could contact Good Energy, Ecotricity, Green Energy UK or any of the other green electricity companies in the country.Oh, and do tell me how you get on.