Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Green New Deal, How Green Are The Parties

The Green Party have been talking about a Green new deal for years. Now the other parties are also talking about it, but rather than be annoyed, I see this as a positive sign that they are getting the message. Unfortunately they don't go far enough, but they are all making a step forward.

Labour: In the budget Labour committed up to £1 billion for a new Green Infrastructure Bank and £60 million to develop land alongside ports to support wind turbine manufacturing facilities. This encouraged energy giants GE and Siemens to announce an investment of nearly £200m in new UK manufacturing centres to build components for offshore wind turbines. It follows similar announcements earlier in the year by Clipper and Mitsubishi to set up factories and research facilities for offshore wind turbines and represents, at last, some momentum towards meeting Britain's commitment to generate 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Conservatives have pledged to roll existing low carbon budgets into a new Green Investment Bank, but they've not yet committed to any additional investment. David Cameron's comments last Friday to Jeremy Paxman that he wanted a smaller state, particularly in the North East, raise questions about what role he sees government in stimulating a low carbon economic recovery. Greg Clark has stressed it is "time to act, not time to talk". Creating an entitlement for every home to be fitted with up to £6,500 of energy efficiency improvements, with the cost being repaid through fuel bills. Greg stressed, “Adopting these measures now could begin a revolution in our energy sector that could create thousands of new green jobs starting immediately when they are desperately needed."
And he warned, “Labour’s procrastination is putting these vital green jobs in peril.”

Liberal Democrats: Last week, the Liberal Democrats announced plans to create a one-year green job plan. They would use £3.1 bn of cuts in government expenditure to bring 200,000 empty properties back into use, and invest in new green energy infrastructure and public transport. As with Labour, this is also in addition to existing clean energy budgets.

Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, said in his party's green manifesto that the Tories "talk the talk on green issues only to align themselves with climate deniers in the European parliament", and claims that voting for the Green party is a waste because they "cannot make a difference in Westminster". Clegg has been wrong before, spectacularly. Has he changed?

Greens: The Green Party last week also launched a job-creation plan showing pledging a £44 billion investment package in renewables, transport, insulation, housing and waste management to create a million new jobs in the UK. The Green Party’s manifesto offers to invest heavily in greening and modernising Britain’s economy, creating a million new jobs in the process, while delivering warmer homes, much better public transport, real sustainability and energy security. The other parties eco-policy is a pale shadow of this.

Ukip "We believe that whilst climate change is proven, the arguments over global warming, and
particularly anthropogenic global warming (AGW), are at this time unproven. We believe
that the security, happiness and prosperity of the nation are too important to be thrown
away in the pursuit of illusory aims." They want to expand nuclear power by 8 times (up to 50%) despite the costs/dangers and that its a non renewable energy source.

Clear differences between the parties are emerging over investments and industrial strategy. With polls showing such strong support for more clean energy investment from government, the big three parties would do well to raise their level of ambition before election day. This can be the Green election!

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