Lord Stern has complained that climate-sceptic news outlets are working with energy companies to misinform the British public in relation to the make-up of their energy bills.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “There is currently a concerted campaign to mislead the British public about the factors that are driving up consumers’ electricity and gas bills.”
Both British Gas and SSE have raised their energy prices by 9.2% and 8.2% in the past week. Each supplier partially blamed the increase on green taxes.
Green subsidies not to blame for price rise
Lord Stern explained that less than one fifth of SSE’s price rise was caused by green subsidies and added that most of this would have been spent on insulating the homes of those most in need.
On the other hand, he said, three quarters of the increase was down to rising wholesale prices and the UK’s reliance on fossil fuel. If energy companies succeeded in removing green levies, he said, energy bills would continue to rise at the same rapid rate as wholesale gas.
Think tank, IPPR agreed with Lord Stern’s reasoning and said that just 6% of SSE’s recent price rise was a result by green taxes.
Fracking for shale gas won’t keep prices down
Lord Stern also discussed the prospect of shale gas extraction lowering bills in the UK. He explained that although the process had successfully reduced costs in the USA, Britain is part of a European gas market and for this reason a slight increase in production at a European level is unlikely to result in cheaper fuel.
He added that shale gas may “take many years to exploit.”
Those in favour of fracking in the UK, argue that the process will produce additional revenue for the government and could consequently lower taxes. In addition, supporters claim shale gas extraction will guarantee a cheap and reliable fuel for the nation in years to come.