From Thomas Cromwell to Sir Humphrey officials and advisors try their best. Their political masters, particularly in election years, can and do resist advice presented to them. Although this video comes from a clearly vested interest promoting solar pv, the evidence – quotes – they have accumulated shows how policy can be implemented even when the best advice of various authorities and departmental advisors is clearly doesn’t support it.
Nor does Liz Truss’s views on solar pv seem to ring entirely true with what she recently told ‘The House’ in terms of her support for evidence and science.
Truss’s enthusiasm for science and tech also extends to the vexed topic of climate change. Owen Paterson famously chose not to be briefed on the subject by Defra’s chief scientist, Prof Ian Boyd. So, has she had a briefing? “Yes, and by the [Government’s] chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport, as well.” Pretty quickly after she got the job? “Yes.”
“This department’s remit is adapting to the challenge of climate change,” she says. “I fully agree that climate change is happening. I think the evidence is very strong, but this department’s role is making sure we adapt to climate change and that’s taken into account in all our modelling. So the modelling the Environment Agency does takes that into account. The investment we are putting in will reduce the risk of flooding by 5%.”
Truss also does something her predecessor refused to: she endorses David Cameron’s remark that he “suspects” there is a “link” between extreme weather events and climate change. “I agree with the Prime Minister, that’s the safe thing to say, isn’t it?” she smiles. “The responsibility for mitigation of climate change rests with Ed Davey…that doesn’t stop me from getting lots of questions.”