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U.K. Party Politics Threatens Climate Efforts, Davey Says

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Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. political consensus on climate and energy policy is crumbling, Energy Secretary Ed Davey will say today, in a swipe at both the opposition party and his partners in the coalition government.

The opposition Labour Party’s plan to freeze energy prices for 20 months would undermine the investment to preserve energy security, Davey, a Liberal Democrat, will say, according to excerpts of a speech released by his office in London.

The right-wing fringes of the Conservative Party, the senior partner in the government, along with the U.K. Independence Party, are working to undermine public trust in the scientific evidence for climate change, Davey will say.

“This type of climate change-denying conservatism is willfully ignorant, head-in-the-sand nimbyist conservatism,” Davey will say. “When married to the Europhobia innate to parts of the Conservative party, you have a diabolical cocktail that threatens the whole long-term structure of U.K. climate change and energy policy.”

The comments are part the Liberal Democrat’s effort to create an identity for the party distinct from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives before the election due in 2015. Nick Clegg’s party has lost support in polls since joining the coalition with Cameron in 2010.

The only way for the U.K. to remain competitive and maintain energy security is to work with the 28-member European Union to tackle climate change and to persuade the biggest emitters, the U.S. and China, to also take action, according to Davey.

Davey is due to speak at 1 p.m. local time at the Institute for Public Policy Research, a research group in London that advised Tony Blair’s administration when he was prime minister.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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