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John Gummer warns: don't dump green agenda

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George Osborne's attempt to backtrack on green policies by supporting a new "dash for gas" ran into trouble after the incoming head of the government's climate change committee said future economic growth would be impossible without more renewable energy.

The comments from John Gummer, who has been chosen to chair the independent climate change committee, came amid growing signs that the chancellor is leading a headlong government retreat from David Cameron's much-vaunted commitment to lead "the greenest government ever".

Suspicions were raised last week that the prime minister had accepted the need to downgrade green policies, which many Tory MPs see as too expensive in a recession, when he promoted climate sceptics in his reshuffle. He switched Owen Paterson, who has made clear that he is opposed to windfarms, to environment secretary, and made another green sceptic, John Hayes, energy minister.

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