November 15, 2019 by Paul Goldsmith
Only the Green Party will come clean about the fundamental change to out lifestyle and short term living standards required to deal with the ‘climate emergency’.
All the political parties have launched their election campaigns over the last week or so. No manifestos have yet been published (and the Brexit Party isn’t publishing one) but the direction of their campaigns are reasonably clear.
Whilst the parties are quite separated on Brexit, almost all are agreed on the need to address environmental issues. From this, one could say a bunfight/bidding war is developing.
However, only one party is likely to properly set out what their plans for the environment will really mean for people, which is why i am looking forward to the Green Party’s manifesto in particular.
The Tories have already stated they are bringing forward banning new petrol and diesel cars to 2035, whilst Labour and Lib Dems are moving that to 2030. The Lib Dems want to have 80% of all energy from renewable sources by then. Part of Labour’s many plans for ‘investment’ is in ‘green jobs’, and they want to bring forward the ‘net zero’ carbon target to 2030 instead of 2050.
All of this is fine in a way, except the mainstream parties are not clear how they will raise the money for their plans nor the impact on people’s livelihoods along the way.
The Green Party are much clearer on this. With interest rates extremely low, they intend to borrow up to 90% of the £100bn a year for ten years they want to borrow to fund their plans.
But it will be more than that. The Green Party manifesto in 2015 presented a complete change in how we live. They didn’t pretend we could have everything we wanted and still save the planet. They admitted our incomes would fall, our working week would shorten, our lifestyles would change.
It will be impossible to change the UK’s economy to net zero carbon by 2030 without a massive impact on most of us. Entire industries would have to shut down. Hopefully they wouldn’t simply be outsourced, along with their emissions, to developing countries. The way we consume would change, how we recycle would change. Laws would need revisiting and in some cases with more robust implementation than now.
My issue with the other parties, and especially Labour, is that they want bid for their environmental purity without coming clean (no pun intended) on the compromises that would have to be made – what we would lose as well as what would be gained. Whose local workplace would be shut down, whose goods and services would become more expensive.
Labour won’t be the only ones though. The other parties, partly because they know they might be in government but also because the targets are over a decade away, will not risk complete transparency on this issue.
The Greens will though. Which is one of the reasons why they tend to get fewer votes.
Sigh…that’s politics for you