Could this be the UK’s first General Election where climate change plays a defining role? Usually it’s issues such as the economy or crime or the NHS that dominate the campaigns. And this time Brexit is bound to be the most acute question facing politicians and voters. But some recent polling has revealed a potentially significant shift elevating the environment to one of the top priorities. “…over this election campaign politicians are going to have to start discussing the issue of the environment if they want to win over the support of those younger voters.” The two biggest parties are trading blows over which of them offers the most credible green policies. Last Saturday the Conservatives announced a halt to fracking, the controversial process of extracting gas from shale rock. Labour derided the timing as opportunistic and more of a pause than a total ban. The very next day, Labour came out with a ‘Warm Homes’ plan to insulate the country’s households – nearly 27m of them – and help with solar panels and heat pumps. The Tories dismissed the scheme’s £250bn bill as unaffordable and unrealistic. And now, along with the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Green Party, Labour are calling for a live TV debate on climate change, clearly hoping to highlight what they see as government failings. For their part, ministers point to the fact that the UK, on their watch, is the first major industrialised economy to commit to decarbonisation.
BBC 6th Nov 2019 read more »
The Green Party will pledge to invest £100bn a year in climate action for a decade if it gets into power. Launching her campaign in Bristol, co-leader Sian Berry will say: “Some things are even bigger than Brexit. This must be the climate election.” The party says it will fund the pledge by borrowing £91.2bn a year, with a further £9bn from “tax changes” including a rise in corporation tax. The Greens will also set out plans to make Britain carbon neutral by 2030. The government has already committed to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, a move announced by former Prime Minister Theresa May before she left office earlier this year. Political parties have begun to launch their election campaigns after the overnight dissolution of Parliament heralded the official start to the five-week campaign period. Brexit is set to be a crucial issue when voters go to the polls on 12 December, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisting the UK will leave in January if he is returned to power. However, some parties, including the Greens, are using their campaigns to draw attention to other issues.
BBC 6th Nov 2019 read more »
Climate change is not just a global emergency, it would seem. Labour also sees it as an electoral opportunity, and in the weeks ahead it will be putting it front and centre of its campaigning message for societal and economic change and renewal. I should begin by congratulating Labour on at least coming up with some sort of a plan for a carbon-free economy, which is more than can be said for the Government which has ridiculously set a legally binding target but with no roadmap for getting there. For the moment, the Government’s approach rests on continued need for further research and guidance, rather than action. Quite what will be said about it in the Conservative Party manifesto is anyone’s guess. Though scarcely a new thought, Labour’s policy wonks might also be congratulated for recognising climate change as not just a threat to the planet, but an unparalleled opportunity for economic transformation. The required investment in energy transition is big enough, potentially, finally to lift the economy out of its post-financial crisis malaise, sparking a new era of jobs-rich productivity growth. Labour is therefore absolutely right to make climate change the heart and soul of its industrial strategy. But that, I fear, is where the praise stops, for Labour’s Green New Deal, like its Democrat counterpart in the United States, is in most other respects just an unrealistic, utopian nonsense. Insistence on blaming “capitalism” for climate change, and equating its effects with inequality, is moreover puerile, incoherent, ideological drivel. According to Labour’s “vision for a Green New Deal”, it is “an unequal and oppressive economic system that has destabilised our climate, leaving working class people in the UK and across the globe suffering the devastating impacts of climate breakdown. Meanwhile the rich reap the profits”. Hence the Green New Deal, which “is rooted in recognition that the crises of inequality and climate change are symptoms of the same failing economic system, and must therefore be addressed as one”.
Telegraph 5th Nov 2019 read more »
The British government has launched a £315m hunt to find new technologies that can shrink the carbon footprint of the most polluting factories to help meet the UK’s climate targets. The scheme will offer funds over the next five years to energy-intensive firms, such as manufacturers, to invest in new technology which can reduce their energy use. Ministers hope the scheme will help save £1bn a year on industrial energy bills, and cut carbon emissions by 2m tonnes or the equivalent of taking nearly 200,000 cars off the road each year.
Guardian 5th Nov 2019 read more »
The CBI’s director-general Carolyn Fairbairn has made a rousing call to action ahead of December’s general election, urging the next Government to kick-start a “decade of climate action”. In a speech delivered at Schroders on Monday (4 November), Fairbairn outlined three key areas in which the CBI believes greater policy support to unlock the investment needed to reach net-zero by 2050, namely renewable and nuclear electricity generation; decarbonising heat and transport networks; and including emissions from products imported to the UK in national greenhouse gas (GHG) accounts.
Edie 5th Nov 2019 read more »
Speaking exclusively to edie following the launch of its Net-Zero Review, HM Treasury minister Simon Clarke outlines the Government’s plans to deliver on the legislation to reduce the UK’s emissions to net-zero by 2050. Clarke, previously a backbencher who has campaigned for net-zero to become a government target, is in charge of this review, stating it is going to focus on “the ‘how’ and framing the debate”. Clarke is clear on the nature of the review – and what it will deliver: “It’s not designed to say we will do ‘x, y and z’ specifically,” he says, “but what it is designed to do is to look at the big picture questions that underline what the government has got to do over the next 30 years.”
Edie 5th Nov 2019 read more »