The near complete absence of climate change from the annual parliamentary set piece only underscores the sense of drift within government on a host of environmental and energy issues
What follows is an intemperate climate hawk rant, which as such is bound to generate more heat than light.
But if you, like me, were operating under the naive assumption the annual setting out of the government's legislative agenda was a good place for Ministers to provide some indication on what they intend to do about the biggest long term crisis the planet faces, read on.
Staggeringly, the first Queen's Speech since the Paris Agreement attempted to usher in a new era in human history, made only a passing reference to climate change and offered next to no insight into how the government intends to navigate the end of the fossil fuel age and the epic opportunities and risks that come with it.
"My government will continue to play a leading role in world affairs, using its global presence to tackle climate change and address major international security, economic and humanitarian challenges," the Queen monotoned, in a speech that provided not a single indicator as to how the UK will play such a leading role beyond a brief nod to ensuring we remain "at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles".
There was nothing on promised decarbonisation plans; the upcoming fifth carbon budget; the implications of the Paris deal; the need to embrace clean technologies in buildings, heat, aviation, energy, industry, and agriculture, as well as automotive sectors; plans for improved flood defences; plans for smarter infrastructure and interconnectors; plans to tackle a looming clean energy investment hiatus; the uncertainty dogging the UK's nuclear programme; the future of the UK's ambitious marine energy industry; the promised legislation setting a goal to build a net zero emission economy; the need to boost UK recycling rates; and the need to reverse falling levels of biodiversity. And ministers get angry when green business leaders and NGOs accusing them of not treating the environment as a priority.
Now, I know it would be perfectly reasonable to dismiss much of this criticism as unfair. The last government engineered record levels of clean energy investment and record reductions in carbon emissions. This government is committed to doing the same. The Queen may have not been asked to publicly reference the Paris Agreement, but the government's accompanying documents today declare: "Following the Paris climate agreement we are committed, both at home and overseas, to reducing emissions and increasing investment in clean energy technologies. We are using the transition to a low carbon global economy to maximise commercial opportunities for the UK in areas of British expertise."
Moreover, the government is working on a new plan to meet carbon and renewables targets, is considering the fifth carbon budget, is funnelling funding into clean tech R&D, is planning to mobilise new investment in nuclear, offshore wind and other clean energy assets, is supporting the rollout of smart meters, and is planning a net zero emission target. Even some of the policies that did make it into a strangely unambitious Queen's Speech (yes, the European referendum is a distraction, but we're only just entering the second year of this government, you'd still expect a fuller legislative agenda) could be spun as beneficial to the environment. For example, high speed broadband is critical to a low carbon economy and the new Lifetime ISA plan could open the door to more green ISAs. Equally, the promise of more devolved planning powers to Wales potentially opens the door for the country to provide a haven for the UK's embattled onshore wind sector.
But while that's all well and good, where is the urgency? Where is the sense that climate action is a genuine priority for this government? The theatre of the Queen's Speech provided the government with an opportunity to send a clear signal about its low carbon intentions, and yet again it decided to fumble it.
Yes, there is the risk that rushed reforms result in governments' repenting at leisure, but the climate crisis gives no one the luxury of time. Why are promised new policies for accelerating the reduction of the UK's emissions taking so long? Could it be that they are not being regarded as the top priority they should be?
Even if it is reasonable for the government to take 18 months to set out its new decarbonisation strategy (it's not), why is the opportunity not now being used to build excitement around upcoming reforms? Political rhetoric has its value, if only to underline the UK's commitment to the low carbon economy and send an unequivocal signal that high carbon business-as-usual is confined to the history books?
There is also a compelling strategic reason for using events like the Queen's Speech to reiterate that the government understands the implications of the 'Paris Effect' - that's what other countries (and businesses) would have done.
Since that night in December, President Obama (and hopefully soon to be President Clinton) have used every opportunity to promote their clean tech agenda, France has repeatedly moved to strengthen its climate policies, and China has released a new five year plan majoring on environmental action. Meanwhile, growing numbers of businesses have signed up to ambitious new emissions targets, aggressive clean tech investment programmes, and bold renewable energy plans. Even Shell has hinted its vision for the future might be slowly shifting in favour of cleaner technologies.
In the midst of this historic turning point the UK government has overseen a fall down the league table of renewable energy investment attractiveness, engineered a hiatus in clean energy investment, watched idly by as recycling rates stall, and moved at a glacial pace to address the scandalous dishing out of subsidies to diesel and coal generators. The risk of the UK squandering a genuine leadership position in a host of globally significant clean tech and green business sectors is increasing by the month.
And to top it all, less than six months after David Cameron got all misty eyed at the Paris Summit, lamenting how a failure to act on climate change would condemn the next generation to unacceptable risks, the government sends the Queen out with next to nothing of interest to say on the biggest long term challenge the country faces. Meanwhile, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary is today reported to be confident she will soon land a new job in a post-referendum reshuffle that only promises to further disrupt the government's increasingly confusing decarbonisation strategy.
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