Ever since it was first mentioned by energy secretary Amber Rudd during a select committee hearing several months ago, ministers have continually sought to uncover the details surrounding the government’s mysterious inter-ministerial ‘green group’. Like Fox Mulder in his prime, Angus Macneil has pressed Rudd, believing that the truth is indeed out there.

Or is it? Scant information has emerged despite Macneil’s repeated attempts and the committee chair would certainly appear no closer to the gritty details of the shadow group on Clean Growth, as it has now been called. If, as Macneil has said before, the Levy Control Framework is among the biggest government state secrets in existence then the Clean Growth group must run it close.

The subject reared its head once more in the middle of last month. Macneil, seemingly intrigued after Lord Bourne was more forthcoming with details than he perhaps ought to have been, addressed Rudd wanting to know the exact composition of the group, its powers and how often it is scheduled to meet.

Rudd’s reply – sent a day later than Macneil requested it, just because – only embellished slightly.

She did reveal that its members include ministers and officials from “relevant departments” including DECC, Defra, DfT, DCLG and BIS. The only other information she chose to reveal – and the term ‘information’ is in the loosest possible sense here – is that the group meets “as and when required”.

“The purpose of the group is to allow ministers to discuss direction for relevant strategic issues. Final decisions relating to those matters would be made through the usual mechanisms set out in the cabinet manual,” Rudd wrote.

Rudd’s letter also includes the rather audacious claim that the group does not comment on specific membership or how often and when it meets to “protect the integrity of the policy making process”, as if to say that revealing such information would leave the group wide open to the kind of corruption that’d make sport governing bodies blush.

If the select committee’s purpose is to truly scrutinise, then it can only do so much if government departments are so unwilling to comply.

And that DECC ministers seem to be going out of their way to obfuscate and be secretive  can only result in select committee members – and opportunistic energy hacks – jumping to conclusions.

One possible reason behind the secrecy is what Rudd states in the opening exchanges of her letter. The government is due to be legislate for the Committee on Climate Change’s fifth carbon budget before the end of this parliamentary session, a body of work which Rudd rightly states will require action from right across government.

Heat and transport’s travails have been widely documented, but there’s now a very real concern that power generation could be hamstrung in its attempts to meet its own targets. The fifth budget for the period 2027 to 2032 sets out how 75% of power generation must come from the trio of CCS, nuclear and renewables if carbon intensity levels of 100g/kWh are to be reached. Government has pulled the rug from beneath the feet of CCS in recent weeks and Hinkley Point C’s future looks as precarious as it has been given this week’s developments. Renewables, it would seem, might just have a lot more work to do in the coming years.

If the government therefore needs more renewables to come on stream over the next 10 to 15 years then it stands to reason that the Clean Growth group could well be preparing an almighty backtrack on DECC’s big energy reset from last November. Osborne’s ideological stance is unlikely to change, but subsidy-free CfDs are known to be very much on the department’s wish list and is the type of announcement Rudd could make to wrestle back some marginal goodwill.

Of course, another reason for the group not to disclose details of meetings could be that there aren’t any details to disclose. Its existence has only been referred to since last November and in that time DECC’s been a little busy unveiling an entirely new energy strategy whilst seconding its senior officials to Paris for the best part of a month. Defra too has had a busy time of it of late, and decarbonisation is unlikely to be high up on the other departments’ agendas.

Like a pupil who’s yet to complete his homework, Rudd might just be looking to appease Macneil with a response that doesn’t actually offer answers, but also absolves her department of guilt. ‘I’m sworn to secrecy on this’ is also a lot more believable than ‘my dog ate my energy strategy’.

Whatever the reason behind the secrecy, the fact that Rudd nor any other government official appears willing – or indeed able – to talk at length on the clean growth group is at least suspicious, but also yet another example of the dismissive attitude the government has come to adopt when it comes to decarbonisation.

Rudd’s reply starts with her stating that there can be “no question” that the current government is firmly committed to its carbon budgets. That it appears hell bent on shrouding details of its meeting on the subjects in bureaucratic red tape suggests otherwise.