Among the cleverest strategic moves made by the anti-Keystone XL pipeline campaign was the use of President Obama's own words regarding the "tyranny of oil".
The UK solar industry seems to be taking a leaf out of the same play book, as it fights imminent and drastic cuts to the solar feed-in tariffs that have helped create a mini-boom in clean energy industries, and now look set to devastate those same companies through overly harsh, overly speedy austerity measures.
Manageable Cuts Welcome
At issue is not whether subsidies should be cut. Given the ferocious cost reductions in solar power, even solar industry insiders have called for considerable cuts—but as Germany's recent announcement of a 15% cut in feed-in tariffs shows, subsidies can be scaled back over time in a manageable, timely yet consistent manner—encouraging self-sufficiency without pulling the rug out from under the industry's feet.
The Free Market is a Myth
And lest anyone feel tempted to parrot the same-old-same-old about the free market economy, let's not forget that no energy industry has thrived without considerable State support to get it going. Even conservative economists argue that coal is actively undermining our economy. And the true cost of gasoline is unimaginable.
David Cameron used to get that. Let's hope this acts as a useful reminder.