Rebecca Willis: It seems a lifetime ago now. In his speech to the party faithful on the morning of his election in December, Boris Johnson confirmed that his government would act on climate, declaring: “You, the people of this country voted to be carbon-neutral by 2050… and we’ll do it.” Then, just last month, in an extraordinary speech to the international community, Johnson declared: “We have had a catastrophic period in which the global addiction to hydrocarbons has got totally out of control.” Time and again over the past decade, the Conservatives have stated their concerns about climate change and pledged their support for targets. Yet there is a gaping hole in this government’s climate strategy. They are committed to the target. They know they need to ramp up policies to meet it. But they have no story to tell, no narrative about climate strategy that fits with their aspirations for the country. Individual policies will founder unless it is clear how they fit into a wider vision. Recent years have seen the left, both in the US and the UK, develop a confident climate narrative, the Green New Deal. What story could the right tell on climate? First, one of market-shaping. Second, one of devolution: giving local areas both the power and the responsibility to roll out climate strategies that shape the future of local economies. Climate Assembly UK, the citizens’ assembly on climate change commissioned by parliament, will soon report, offering vital evidence about people’s preferred routes to a more resilient, zero-carbon UK.
Times 19th March 2020 read more »