Simon Galton

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Lib Dems on Climate Change – more sense, less spin

by simongalton on 24 March, 2009

Here is something to clarify the parties stance on the new climate change targets the Labour government will obviously write and ignore (not much point mentioning the Tories the only thing green in their party is in the Logo). As a party we have always been committed to envrionmental issues – and here is the proof:

Recent scientific studies have shown that climate change is an even greater threat than was understood even two or three years ago. The government now has a duty to react accordingly.   Liberal Democrats have always argued that targets for carbon emissions reductions must be based on science not on politics. We therefore support the Friends of the Earth campaign for the immediate adoption of a 42% reduction target by 2020.  

Liberal Democrats want to create a zero carbon Britain by 2050. In the Climate Change Act 2008 the government committed to an 80% emissions reduction target. Although we think the government could be more ambitious, the key now, as you make clear, is to establish a clear pathway to reaching that target.  Targets mean nothing without action to meet them. On April 22, at the same time as the most important Budget in living memory, Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will make an announcement about the first three, five year carbon budgets for the period up to 2022.   The introduction of carbon budgets is a welcome step. The full details of the first three carbon budgets will be announced in the summer, but the April announcement will set the tone. The carbon budgets must be ambitious. If they are not, we are in danger of being locked into high carbon emissions that we cannot afford. This will be much more expensive to correct, both environmentally and financially, after 2020.   That is why Liberal Democrats have proposed action now to address climate change. In these extraordinarily difficult times we are presented with an opportunity to rebuild our economy on green foundations.

Instead of the temporary VAT cut which is wasting £1 billion every month, Liberal Democrats would use those resources on immediate green measures, including plans to build 40,000 new zero carbon social homes, insulating our hospitals and schools and extending our national railway network.  In addition, Liberal Democrats have recently announced an ambitious programme to make every home in Britain energy efficient within ten years. Domestic households account for 27% of national carbon emissions. Yet less than 1% of Britain’s homes meet the energy efficiency standard. Inefficiency is costing households hundreds of pounds each year and adding hugely to our carbon footprint. A national programme to deliver change is needed urgently and we will continue to campaign for government action.  

The Liberal Democrat’s support an ambitious carbon emissions target for 2020 and beyond, we understand that our economic and environmental crises are linked. We will plan for the long-term by proposing action now to rebuild our economy on green foundations.

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