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Miliband the Younger becomes Green Energy minister

Dept for of Energy & Climate Change set up

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The Brown government has now established a new Department of Energy and Climate Change, and appointed meteoric Labour politico Ed Miliband - younger brother of the Foreign Secretary, David - to lead it.

"The new department reflects the fact that energy policy and climate change are directly linked," said Mr Miliband, taking up his first front-rank Cabinet post.

"My job is to make sure our policy on climate change is fair for ordinary families and our policy on energy is sustainable for future generations."

Miliband was previously Minister for the Cabinet Office, responsible for various things including the Office of the Third Sector. He has been an MP since 2005, and before that was a long-time Labour Party staffer. As a special adviser at Gordon Brown's Treasury, he was described as one of the most powerful unelected officials in the country.

Before joining Labour, the young Mr Miliband worked at Channel 4 and studied at Oxford and the LSE. He joined Harriet Harman's staff in 1993 at the age of 24, but moved to Mr Brown's fighting tail the following year. He is nonetheless sometimes seen as something of a bridge between the Brownite and Blairite wings of the Labour party.

The new departmental setup was broadly welcomed by environmentalists, as those responsible for setting targets will now work alongside those responsible for meeting them. Energy matters formerly fell under the remit of John Hutton, now moved to Defence, who was known to favour development of coal and nuclear power.

Now Miliband the Younger will oversee energy. His elder brother, party leadership pre/contender David, was known to be against new coal build when he was minister for the environment; and Miliband's live-in girlfriend is a lawyer specialising in politically-sensitive environmental issues.

For his part, Prime Minister Brown has called for "clean" coal development, with carbon emissions sequestrated or otherwise dealt with. However this technology is largely unproven, and many analysts believe that it cannot compete economically with nuclear in a carbon-priced market - besides being dependent on imported coal.

It could be that the new Kingsnorth coal plant now faces an unfriendly climate change on Whitehall. ®

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