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Green energy firms condemn UK cuts

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 01:50

The Paris climate change conference is just a few weeks away - and it's being billed as a last chance to reach an agreement on carbon emissions that could prevent catastrophic climate change. The EU has agreed to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 - but there are fears the British government could be undermining this by cutting subsidies for renewable energy. Elena Casas reports.

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This housing estate in east London has a secret - hidden away on the roof. These solar panels provide enough electricity to power each building's lifts and lights - even in London's grey winter. Most of the building's residents contributed to the scheme - which will eventually give them cheaper electricity bills. But renewable energy firms say projects like this will be unsustainable in the future - if the government follows through on plans to cut renewable energy subsidies by 87%. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REPOWERING LONDON, CEO, AGAMEMNON OTERO, SAYING: "This cut will dramatically affect the viability of the sector, there's a great deal of insecurity around what will happen, the whole of investment in renewables - whether it's wind, whether it's tidal - is submerged in a quagmire of uncertainty and we need to have clarity around subsidies." The British government says solar power is too expensive and subsidies must be cut by 1.5 billion pounds by 2020. But the solar industry says that by adding just one pound a year to the average household electricity bill, the current scheme could be financed for another five years. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH): ALASDAIR CAMERON, FRIENDS OF THE EARTH, SAYING: "The UK is going to have a very hard time going to Paris - in fact it's going to be ridiculous going to Paris and asking poorer countries to take the lead, which is what the UK should be doing. No country is doing enough, but the UK used to be a leader in tackling climate change and now we're falling far behind." For climate campaigners, the government added insult to injury on Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit to London - pledging 2 billion pounds of public funds to help build a Chinese-made nuclear plant.

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Green energy firms condemn UK cuts

Monday, November 16, 2015 - 01:50