This coalition government set out to be “the greenest government yet“. Sadly, it appears to be achieving this. Not because of any amazing policy initiative but more out of an utter failure of New Labour to act on climate change. The over-riding message coming out of this government is we are acting “Green”. The over-riding message coming out of NGO’s is “good, but you desperately need to go further”.
So what have the coalition achieved so far?
1 The Green Deal: 100,000 jobs to insulate and upgrade homes, reducing carbon emissions and saving money
2 £1bn for a Green Investment Bank
3 Replacing Air Passenger Duty with a per-plane duty
4 Scrapping Heathrow’s third runway
5 £200m for low-carbon technologies, including £60m for infrastructure to help create an offshore wind manufacturing industry
6 £1bn for a commercial scale Carbon Capture and Storage
7 £860m will fund a Renewable Heat Incentive
8 Lobbying the EU to increase our emissions cut target from 20 per cent to 30 per cent and provided effective leadership at Cancun.
This government has done more in 6 months than Labour achieved in 13 years to tackle climate change. Yet, anyone who is aware of the severity of the problems facing the UK through climate change can see that these measures simply do not go far enough. The Green Investment Bank for example is a good idea, but it needs investment 4 – 6 times the amount currently being proposed to be truly effective.
This is the greenest government yet, that I have little doubt. To be able to mutter this statement though is a cause for Labour to hide in shame, not for the coalition to hold its head up high. We need to congratulate the coalition on the steps they have taken and push them further – much further.