Short Termism and Entrenched Ideas: What Happened to the Greenest Government Ever? In the past, David Cameron has made much of his green credentials. Back in 2010 when the Lib-Con Coalition first formed he stated that he wanted it to be part of the . That may, of course, have been because of the Liberal influence but the Prime Minister made a point of adding:
“Nowhere are long-term decisions more needed than actually in the fields of energy and climate change and environment.”
He also said:
“We’ve got a real opportunity to drive the green economy to have green jobs, green jobs and make sure we have our share of the industries of the future.”
So what has gone so drastically wrong in the last few months since the coalition ended and the Tories took full control of the climate change agenda? With the Labour leadership in disarray for much of the time, the government was free to try and push through some major changes, and cut backs, which they really wanted to do whilst in coalition.
In July of this year, they were forced to close the Green Deal initiative after the money ran out something that led to criticism from Green MP Caroline Lucas who called it ‘cowardly.’ Then there was the confirmation that the government were planning to cut Feed in Tariff subsidies so dramatically that it almost gave some in the solar industry fatal heart attacks.
With the Paris summit coming up shortly, Cameron is going to have to work hard to convince other nations, not least the population of the UK, that he means business on renewables.
The 2015 Paris Summit on Climate Change
There’s no doubt that government’s across the world have struggled in implementing the climate change measures that would see us dramatically reduce our collective carbon footprint. With perhaps a million set to march in protest on the streets of Paris, there’s also no doubt that the public are beginning to lose patience.
Organisers of the planned believe that they can force the politicians into changing if enough numbers take to the streets. Back in September last year, the march was in New York and attracted some 700,000. This November, expectations are for a much bigger turnout, in excess of a million, when protesters take to the Champs-Élysées ahead of the summit in December.
Will it make a difference? Will it force our politicians to change their procrastinating ways? There are many who doubt it.
Who Decided on Fracking?
Whilst getting rid of the Green Deal and reducing the Feed in Tariff have got many people hot under the collar, it’s the plan our ‘greenest government ever’ has for fracking that is perhaps causing much deeper concern with the general public. Outlining his own green credentials before being elected Labour leader, made the point of saying:
“In the last Parliament, the Tories spent £3 billion on fossil fuel subsides and blocked renewable energy targets for Europe. George Osborne said the Government is going &all out for fracking& and has recently introduced regulation that would allow fracking in national parks and through aquifers, risking contaminating the water we drink.”
You would be hard pressed to find many enthusiasts of fracking outside the industry, especially amongst those who might have to endure it in their own back yard. Balcombe in West Sussex was the scene of one of the biggest anti-fracking rallies so far and the residents have recently started crowdfunding to develop solar energy in the area. Some would say that it is another example of the government’s short term outlook and their reluctance to embrace the world of renewables.
Others may be right in saying that the government is far too susceptible to the lobbying of powerful interests such as the fracking industry and fossil fuel sector to be trusted with the energy future of the UK. In any event, their short term view of one of our most important sectors could yet cause untold damage and prevent us from reaching the targets most scientists say we need to attain in the next twenty to thirty years.