The United Kingdom holds its general election in two weeks, and Jeremy Lovell of Climatewire runs down the plans of the three largest parties for tackling climate change and switching to a low-carbon economy.
The plans are all imperfect, but they all exist. The U.K. Conservatives don’t deny climate change because solving it might require responses other than cutting taxes and boosting military spending. Instead, they support creating a Green Investment Bank to boost clean energy projects. They support the carbon-pricing plan in the country’s Climate Change levy and even want to add a floor price, which would encourage investors. Their slogan: “Vote blue, go green” (blue is the party’s color). (Johann Hari has a more skeptical take on party leader David Cameron’s allegiances.)
From an American perspective, it’s interesting to see all the major parties take the climate problem seriously. This is what competitive elections look like in most modernized countries. The U.S. is the exception.
A close election is likely to require a coalition government in Britain for the first time since 1978, so it’s a good thing each party has something to offer to the energy quest.
Then again, maybe the environment just isn’t much of a priority for the parties, as the reliably discontent Guardian columnist George Monbiot argues:
They’re all making vaguely appropriate noises, but it’s obvious that the issue is off the agenda…
It’s partly because there’s not a great deal that divides these parties that the environment has featured so little in the election campaigns. It’s also because economic issues have distracted them, while Labour and the Conservatives are both desperate to prove that they are the party of big business. All three parties want to rescue the economy by increasing consumption, while crossing their fingers and hoping that this won’t clash with their environmental aims. [Emphasis mine.]