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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Cameron ignored warnings from climate change advisors

It seems an eternity ago since David Cameron tried to rebrand the Conservatives as a green party, complete with a new tree logo. It is a shame that the actions have not reflected the rhetoric, so much so that he is barely pretending to be green anymore.

Since the general election, the Conservatives have enacted a series of policies that ultimately dismantle much of the work on green policy that the Liberal Democrats carried out in Government.

The Tory UK Government’s actions in stifling the renewables sector will cost thousands of jobs, jeopardising the green energy sector’s future in the UK and our ability to meet the agreement reached in Paris.

In just a few months, the Conservatives have ended tax breaks for clean cars, abandoned zero carbon housing targets, announced plans to privatise the Green Investment Bank, removed the climate change levy exemption for companies that source renewable energy, and scrapped subsidies for onshore wind and solar—the two cheapest forms of clean energy that help produce 5 per cent of the UK’s total electricity.

The chief executive of the UK Green Building Council has described the abolition of rules on zero carbon housing as the death knell for the zero carbon homes policy. A United Nations scientist, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, has said that the UK appears to have abandoned its leadership on climate change and that the policy of cuts to renewables whilst offering new tax breaks for oil and gas sent a worrying signal to the then UN climate talks in Paris.

The energy Secretary herself has admitted that the UK does not have the right policies to meet its decarbonisation targets, after a leaked letter revealed that the UK is predicted to fall short of its EU obligation for 15 per cent of energy to be from renewables by 2020.

And then on top of all that the Guardian reports that UK government was warned by its official climate change advisers in October that it needed to take action on the increasing number of homes at high risk of flooding but rejected the advice:

The decision not to develop a strategy to address increase flooding risk came just a few weeks before Storm Desmond brought about severe flooding in Cumbria, Lancashire and other parts of the north west causing an estimated £500m of damage.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) also told the Guardian that, despite David Cameron’s promise to do so, the government had failed to learn lessons from the widespread flooding in the winter of 2013-14. 

The Conservatives' green agenda has fallen by the wayside. They have failed to adopt a strategy to respond to increased incidences of flooding and they appear to have dismantled many of the policies that would have helped them meet the targets agreed in Paris.

It really is a long time ago since Cameron rebranded the Tories as a 'green' party and took a team of huskies up to the arctic circle.
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