Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM Snubs Environment Summit as Huhne Attacks 'Green Deniers'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM Snubs Environment Summit as Huhne Attacks 'Green Deniers'

Article excerpt

Byline: Craig Woodhouse Political Reporter

DAVID CAMERON is to snub a major global conference on the environment next year because of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, it emerged today. The Prime Minister will remain in Britain rather than fly to Brazil for the Rio+20 gathering in June, which marks 20 years since the Earth Summit in that country. Critics said the decision further undermined his pledge to lead the "greenest government ever".

It came as Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne made a thinlyveiled attack on George Osborne for opposing green measures. Lib-Dem Mr Huhne criticised "green economy deniers" as he hit back at the Chancellor's Tory conference declaration that Britain should not lead Europe in cutting carbon emissions if it holds back UK growth.

Mr Osborne had said: "We aren't going to save the planet by putting our country out of business." Mr Huhne turned the words against him by saying: "We are not going to save our economy by turning our back on renewable energy." And in a speech to the renewables industry, he pointedly left Mr Osborne's name out as he said: "It is something the Deputy Prime Minister, Business Secretary and Chief Secretary to the Treasury instinctively understand.

"But this goes beyond any one party.

I know the Prime Minister agrees. It's why he puts so much effort into securing offshore wind manufacturing . And it is something I know my predecessor Ed Miliband understands." Cabinet views are split over whether green policies should be sacrificed for growth, with Mr Osborne the most vocal in pushing the case for businesses.

But Mr Huhne attacked the "curmudgeons and fault-finders" who criticise renewable energy and the "climate sceptics and armchair engineers who are selling Britain's ingenuity short".

The row, coming alongside the news that Mr Cameron will not attend the Rio summit, risks further undermining Britain's claims to international leadership on green issues. …

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