Climate portfolio back in UK cabinet after May’s reshuffle

If she keeps climate portfolio, Claire Perry will return the issue to cabinet for the first time since the department of energy and climate change was scrapped

UK climate minister Claire Perry was one of those whose star rose in Monday's reshuffle (Photo: Flickr)

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After a day of speculation about who would move where, UK prime minister Theresa May has revealed her new cabinet – and like the majority of departments, not much has changed for the climate and energy sector.

Key appointments:

  • Greg Clark stays as secretary of state for the department of business, energy and industrial strategy (Beis)
  • Climate minister Claire Perry remains in her role, but will now attend cabinet
  • Environment secretary Michael Gove, international trade secretary Liam Fox, and foreign secretary Boris Johnson, all kept their jobs

After much speculation, Beis secretary of state Greg Clark today kept his role as secretary of state for Beis. Clark, the MP for Tunbridge Wells, took on the role of secretary of state for the newly created Beis in the summer 2016.

The biggest change was for climate change minister Claire Perry who won a slight promotion and will now attend cabinet meetings as minister of state at the department for business, energy and industrial strategy (Beis).

Alongside reporting to the cabinet, her role at Beis is expected to stay much the same – although the exact details of the new position have not yet been made clear.

If Perry keeps her focus on climate change, it would mean the issue will be represented by a minister with that specific brief at cabinet level for the first time since the old department of energy and climate change was disbanded in July 2016.

Perry, the MP for Devizes in Wiltshire since 2010, was appointed climate minister in June last year. Having campaigned for the UK to stay in the EU, Perry had been rumoured to be up for a more substantial promotion in May’s cabinet reshuffle.

UK: Government details coal power phase-out strategy

Perry has made a couple of notable announcements during her seven months as climate minister.

In October 2017, the department published the long-awaited Clean Growth Strategy, which set out how the government hopes to meet its climate targets and reduce emissions. Analysts have warned that new policies “need to progress quickly” if the government is going to meet its carbon budgets.

In November, Perry joined Canada’s minister of environment Catherine McKenna at the UN climate talks in Bonn to announce the launch of the Powering Past Coal Alliance.

The alliance of countries, states and regions committed to closing coal power plants that don’t have carbon capture and storage technology was largely welcomed in Bonn. But environmentalists warned the announcement was “only the start of the journey”, and urged countries to specify how they would reduce their reliance on coal.

Last week, the UK government detailed its coal phase out plan, saying it will legislate to limit power plants to 450 grams of carbon dioxide for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced, effectively banning coal power plants that are not fitted with carbon capture and storage technology.

The plan was met with cautious optimism by environmentalists, though it was seen as “a missed opportunity” to remove coal generation from the UK‘s energy mix at an earlier date.

This article was originally published on DeSmog UK 

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