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Clegg Denies Coalition Split Over Green Energy

(c) Sky News 2012

Nick Clegg has dismissed claims of splits within the coalition over carbon emissions reduction as he announced a £100m investment in energy efficiency.

Speaking to an energy conference in London, the Deputy Prime Minister insisted ministers were "unreservedly committed" to helping the low-carbon sector and that no one in the coalition wanted to ditch the programme to de-carbonise Britain's economy.

Mr Clegg told an audience of business figures that the UK is "leading from the front" in a global revolution towards cleaner sources of energy.

He also announced a £100m deal to provide funding to encourage foreign and domestic investment in non-domestic energy efficiency.

Many environmentalists were dismayed by Chancellor George Osborne's comment to last year's Tory conference that, while the Government would invest in green energy, "we're not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business".

The Treasury was understood to have demanded cuts in subsidies for onshore wind power in a tussle between Mr Osborne and Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary Ed Davey. The 10% cut left a question mark hanging over the 2030 target for de-carbonising the economy.

But Mr Clegg played down the spat as "part of the internal discussions and debates on the balance and sequencing of different policies that are a normal feature of any government".

He added: "This coalition Government is unreservedly committed to helping our low-carbon sector thrive - no ifs, no buts. And we want to support the shift by traditional industry to cleaner sources of energy - while of course recognising the pressures they face."

The Liberal Democrat leader added that ministers recognise the industry wants "predictability" and "consistency" from the Government on low-carbon energy policy.

He also insisted that the coalition remains "bold" in its ambition for a "clean, green, low-carbon economy".

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