Climate change has been a key priority of the election campaign alongside the NHS and the ever-looming presence of Brexit. All party manifestos pointed to mandates on net-zero emissions, with the Tories sticking with the 2050 timeframe recommended by the Committee on Climate Change. While Brexit will be Johnson’s top priority, there is a raft of green policy plans and bills that have been lost amongst the election shuffle – namely the Agriculture Bill, Fisheries Bill, Environment Bill and a revamped decarbonisation plan for the transport sector – all of which need to be resurfaced. Zac Goldsmith lost his seat to the Lib Dems and the EAC chair Mary Creagh lost the Wakefield seat to Conservative candidate Imran Ahmad-Khan. Defra’s Theresa Villiers’ held her seat by just 212 votes in Chipping Barnet, having held a slim 300 majority going into the vote. Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Andrea Leadsom gained a 4.3% increase in votes on an already strong majority in Northampton South. Former leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas kept her seat. Plans for a Boris Johnson majority government include an immediate fresh Queen’s Speech as soon as 19 December – followed by passing legislation on the EU Withdrawal Act before Christmas, including a raft of changes that would alter 40 years of EU environmental regulations. Part of the Withdrawal Agreement on the departure from the EU customs union and the laws that it enforces is a new regulatory system that the UK will need to stick to as part of any future trade deals with EU nations. This has been called a “level playing field”. This would require the UK to conform to EU standards on environmental policies and others as part of a trade deal, but the UK has no legal obligation to maintain current standards if no trade deal is agreed, this has already sparked concern that the UK could renegade on environmental standards in pursuit of other trade deals, notably with the US. In the long-term, the Conservative party manifesto features some standout commitments, notably: Plant 11 million trees to maximise wildlife benefit; Invest £800m to build the first fully deployed carbon capture storage cluster by the mid-2020s; Ban the export of plastic waste to non-OECD countries; Lower energy bills by investing £9.2bn in the energy efficiency of homes, schools and hospitals; Net-zero emissions by 2050, which is already enshrined into law.
Edie 13th Dec 2019 read more »
What should be at the top of the Tories’ bulging in-tray of green policy issues? 1) Future-proof post-Brexit environmental standard loopholes 2) Pass the Environment Bill into law 3) Confirm Government’s decision on banning fracking 4) Explain where climate scrutiny sits internally.
Edie 13th Dec 2019 read more »
In his victory speech at the party’s campaign headquarters this morning, Johnson promised investment in skills and infrastructure to make the UK “the cleanest, greenest country on earth with the most far-reaching environmental programme”. “You the people of this country voted to be carbon neutral by 2050, and we will do it,” he said. “You also voted to be Corbyn neutral by Christmas, and we’ll do that too” he added in a quip aimed at the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who led his party to defeat today. Corbyn announced this morning he would not lead the party in the next election after the party lost almost 60 MPs in the vote.
Business Green 12th Dec 2019 read more »
Climate change: When people are struggling to breathe, it’s time to get serious – Joyce McMillan.