Why climate change should take centre stage in the election

Andrew Buckley - Energy Policy Advisor
| 21st November 2019 | Energy Renewables

Protecting the environment for future generations is now commonly seen as the most burning issue of our time. Recognising this, politicians of all parties are nailing Climate Change and a Cleaner Energy Future to their campaign masts from the outset. With so much going on, we’ve summarised the key environmental plans parties have committed to ahead of the election, to make it easy for your business to understand.


In the Conservative Party, the Treasury has just announced the launch of a Net Zero Carbon Reviewwhich will evaluate how best economic growth can be maintained during the transition perioto 20501.


Labour wants to create a million jobs to kick start their Green Industrial Revolution and cut the ‘substantial majority’ of the country’s carbon by 20302. The Liberal Democrats are committing to insulating all low income homes by 2025 and to have renewables providing 80% of the UK’s electricity by 20303. The Green Party wants to invest £100 billion a year for the next decade to ensure Britain is fully carbon neutral by 20304.


And it’s only early days. Campaigning has hardly begun! 


The Conservative Party’s new Environment Bill contains distinct echoes of the Climate Change Act. Proposals include a new Office for Environmental Protection and Statutory Environmental Improvement Plans with legally binding targets in four priority areas: air quality, waste & resource efficiency, water and nature 5. Progress will be reviewed every five years.


Labour’s Warm Homes for All plan would involve £60 billion grants for low income households and interest free loans for all to improve the nation’s 27 million houses. Installing double glazing, loft insulation, heat pumps and solar panels would provide 450,000 new jobs and require, it is thought, some £250 billion in 10 years. All new homes would be net zero carbon within three years and gas central heating boilers would be banned2.


The Liberal Democrats want a Government Department specifically for Climate Change and Peoples Assemblies throughout the country to advise on ways forward3.


Other measures taken outside parliament are also starting to bite. Early results from London’s new Ultra Low Emissions Zone show harmful emissions are already 4% lower in the capital than before the scheme was introduced only six months ago.


Public outcry through the actions of Extinction Rebellion and others is clearly making its mark on the politicians. And with the UN Climate Meeting scheduled for Glasgow towards the end of next year, “Climate Change and What We Are Going to Do About It” seems set for high profile, not only through the election but continuing into the beginning months of the new government.


All this is welcome news for industrial and commercial energy customers. In particular, the statement in the Treasury Net Zero Carbon Review that emissions need to be cut without exporting them elsewhere – recognition that the needs of industries and business generally must be taken into account.


Parties’ environmental plans have now surfaced, and it’s clear that businesses’ reputation and economic performance are aligned. A clean energy future must be cost-effective for businesses and progress needs to accelerate to reach our net-zero emissions 2050 goal.


1. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/net-zero-review-launched-to-support-uks-world-leading-climate-commitment

2. https://labour.org.uk/press/full-text-of-jeremy-corbyns-speech-in-northampton/

3. https://www.libdems.org.uk/plan

4. https://www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/images/national-site/eu-2019/eu-manifesto-online-19-05-07.pdf

5. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-bill-2019/environment-bill-policy-statement

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