David Cameron has declared that he believes that climate change is the greatest threat facing the UK and the rest of the world. At PMQs he said “I believe man-made climate change is one of the most serious threats that this country and this world faces”. He then went on to criticise the opposition for their own failure in taking action on climate change. The prime minister had seemed reluctant to acknowledge there was a link between industrial fossil fuel emissions but after suggestions from the opposition that he was unwilling to take robust action he has toughened his position on the issue.
The prime minister set out several key examples that the UK is setting to the rest of the world in the fight against climate change. He pointed to the fact that Britain has founded the world’s first green investment bank to boost development and commercialisation of renewable technology. Other examples of Britain’s continued commitment to renewable energy were the setting of yearly carbon budgets in order to meet carbon output reductions set out in the climate change act. It was also pointed out that a new nuclear power station has been agreed with the last UK nuclear power station being constructed over thirty years ago.
The prime minister’s comments were welcomed by green MPs who feared the prime ministers previously indifferent attitude might jeopardise attempts to build a greener economy. When he first became leader David Cameron declared he wanted to lead the greenest government ever. However he recently said that the government wanted to remove the “green crap” from consumer’s energy bills.
The chancellor George Osborne has also had his fair share of criticism on environmental issues in the past. He was criticised by some conservative MPs when he said that Britain should not be expected to cut its carbon emissions at a faster rate than its European Union Partners. He also recently echoed the prime minister during a visit to Hong Kong when he accepted that climate change presents a significant problem to the UK but that it needs to be combated in as cheap a possible way.
The opposition have since praised the prime misters and the chancellors remarks but have turned there attention on the environment secretary Owen Patterson. The environment secretary is known to be on the sceptical side of the debate and his position as environment secretary has been questioned in light of the recent devastation caused by severe flooding in southern England. The prime minister got the last word in on the issue during the debate in the commons and stated that the only way to deal with climate change is through long term planning in infrastructure.