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PaulS's picture

David Cameron appoints lobbyist as energy advisor

David Cameron has appointed a former lobbyist for British Gas to be his
personal advisor on energy and climate change.

Tara Singh, whose previous role as public affairs manager at British-Gas
owner Centrica involved frequent contact with the Conservative Party,
took up her newly-created role at Number 10 this week.

She is responsible for briefing the prime minister on a day-to-day basis
on issues relating to energy and climate change.

This is a crucial role as the government works furiously to complete the
Energy Bill, a hugely important and ambitious piece of legislation that
will dictate the shape of the country's power infrastructure and will
determine whether Britain's lights stay on.

Ms Singh is also likely to be heavily involved in the run-up to the
crucial Paris climate change summit in 2015, where nearly 200 countries
will attempt to reach a hugely challenging agreement to significantly
cut their carbon emissions. Energy Minister Ed Davey has said he wants
Britain to play a key role in agreeing a global settlement.

Ms Singh joined Centrica in July 2009, working there for nearly four
years before joining the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton in
January for a short stint. The PR company represents the US defence
giant Lockheed Martin, the RenewableUK trade association and Statoil,
the Norwegian oil company raided by the European Commission last week on
suspicion that it sought to inflate oil and petrol prices.

However, while her appointment raised eye-brows in some quarters, it was
generally welcomed by people worried that the Tories are becoming
increasingly sceptical about climate change.

One environmental campaigner said: "She is not a climate sceptic by any
stretch of the imagination".

Ms Singh's appointment comes in the thick of a period of turmoil in the
government's energy and climate change teams that has been fuelled by
policy tensions between the Treasury and the Department for Energy and
Climate Change (DECC). This has resulted in the recent resignations of
the top-level DECC civil servants who are among the key architects of
the Energy Bill - head of strategy Ravi Gurumurthy and Jonathan
Brearley, head of energy markets and networks. Ben Moxham, an advisor to
Mr Cameron on energy and the environment has also quit, although Ms
Singh is not thought to be a direct replacement for Mr Moxham because
the prime minister is understood to be shuffling his climate change
advisory team around.

George Eustice, the MP who recently complained that wind turbines are
blighting the Cornish landscape but advocates marine power, was this
month given the energy and climate change brief on Mr Cameron's new
Conservative Parliamentary Advisory Board.

A Downing Street press officer confirmed Ms Singh's appointment but
declined to give details about her role.

Great Idea!

Why not just ignore Climate Change chaos and the energy crisis. Maybe they will just go away.