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Monday, February 6, 2012

U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Resigns Over Controversy; Replacement Named

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U.K. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has stepped down amid allegations of wrongdoing and has been replaced by Ed Davey, a former business minister.

Huhne is being investigated for allegedly letting his wife take the blame for speeding tickets he racked up in 2003, according to the BBC and other news outlets.

Huhne, a Liberal Democrat, said he is innocent but would step down during the investigation. Davey took over Feb. 3.

Davey, also a Liberal Democrat, said he will follow through with Huhne's agenda of creating more energy-efficient homes, encouraging investment in low-carbon energy projects, creating green jobs and green economic growth, and tackling climate change, among other things.

Britain's coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats was formed by Prime Minister David Cameron in May 2010 after 13 years of Labor Party dominance. At the time, Cameron said the coalition would be the "greenest government ever."

As detailed in a World Climate Change ReportOutlook article published Jan. 11, Britain aims to further its transition to a low-carbon economy through a Green Investment Bank and a "Green Deal" program in which energy providers give loans to homeowners to install energy-saving measures that will be paid back through monthly bills.

The Green Investment Bank, to be launched at the end of 2012, is designed to accelerate private sector investment in the green economy. It is expected to first offer loans for energy efficiency measures, offshore wind projects, and waste projects.The plan is for the bank to become a stand-alone institution by 2015.

Also, the government is set to decide by spring whether to require businesses to report their greenhouse gas emissions and how to revise rules for the domestic carbon emissions trading scheme due to start in April.

The so-called Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme is a mandatory emissions trading program that applies to entitites that used 6,000 megawatt-hours or more of electricity in 2008. In addition to industrial facilities, the program is expected to include banks, hospitals, and hotels. 
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