A Green Revolution is the recovery plan we need

Too many political leaders would let us sleepwalk into a global catastrophe.

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have never cared about the climate emergency. They will trash world agreements in favour of pursuing their dangerous ideologies and serve only those with vested interests in oil and coal.

But despite this, I’m an optimist. 

I’ve taken on Conservatives in government before – and won for our environment. As Secretary of State for Climate Change I oversaw the near quadrupling of Britain’s renewable energy, I smashed the monopoly of the ‘Big 6’ companies on the energy market, and I saw the creation of 250,000 of new green jobs in all corners of the UK.

As Liberal Democrats, we owe it to our children and grandchildren to fight for our planet. Future generations must inherit a world where everyone can breathe clean air, where making the green choice is a natural choice, and where our reliance on dirty fossil fuels is a distant memory. We need a Green Revolution.

And part one of that Green Revolution starts now as we recover from COVID-19.

This is what my Green Recovery Plan will deliver. 

Launched last week in The Guardian, my plans for £150 billion of additional investment over the next three years will create new green jobs and tackle the climate emergency. It’s the recovery plan we need to rejuvenate our economy and protect and enhance our environment.

Here’s my plan in 5 simple steps for a green recovery:

  • Move to at least 80% renewable energy by 2030.
  • Insulate every home by 2030, creating jobs, ending fuel poverty and lowering fuel bills.
  • End the sale of petrol & diesel cars by 2030, and massively expand our electric vehicle network.
  • Restore our natural environment with a rewilding programme, including tree-planting and new air quality standards.
  • A green jobs guarantee, with training and a national living wage for anyone wanting to work on green projects.

Local government also has a critical role to play as well as the national government. 

Every week as Acting Leader, I hear of another great green initiative from a Liberal Democrat Council or a Liberal Democrat Councillor. I’m clear that a recovery plan for our Party starts with our strength – our local government base. The more Liberal Democrat Councillors we elect – the greener and stronger our society will be.

But it’s not just government who need to lead this Green Revolution. Business needs to play its part too – it needs to be easy for consumers to make green choices.

As Secretary of State, I made this happen in the energy sector, but there is much more that could be done, starting with the banks. I spoke to CityAm this week about my plans for the UK banking sector to offer everyone the opportunity to have a green bank account – the funds from which would invest only in green technologies and the green economy.

You shouldn’t need to be a financial expert to find an account where your money is invested in the green economy. 

I have ambitious plans and practical ideas for the Liberal Democrats and the role we can play in safeguarding the environment. But I want to hear your ideas too.

So I’ve designed a short survey for you to put your ideas to me.

You can find the survey here https://voteed.typeform.com/to/INgB8mjn

* Ed Davey is the MP for Kingston & Surbiton and Acting co-Leader of the Liberal Democrats

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37 Comments

  • Simon Oliver 24th Jun '20 - 10:39am

    I am concerned that the first three questions of the survey are names and email address, with no sign of any privacy policy or GDPR statement. Collecting this data may well be legitimate, but until it’s explained what it will be used for, doing so is illegal. Sorry Ed.

  • @Simon Oliver
    The privacy policy, etc, is given at the end of the (somewhat long) survey – see section 19, if you get that far!

  • I not sure how to articulate this post and I am one of the many old white members of the party, re Layla Moran, but I am disappointed that all the candidates seem to think the only policy that matters is the environment, it is important but this country is in a mess from the top down and is in urgent need of reform in all areas of government and it needs challenging right now. I fear this government, with the help of a supportive media, will get away with it’s abysmal handling of the pandemic crisis and other scandals that have come light recently. Perhaps I am completely out of touch with the party and should retire gracefully.

  • Whilst the coalition did good things re “free” solar panels and insulation they didn’t quite reform the energy companies in a way that supported the foregoing, such as getting rid of standing charges, allowing energy meters to run backwards when solar panels were fitted (so the owner always gets credited with the power generated) and having a much lower energy rate for low users (the energy co’s able to recover their money by higher charges for high users)… but the complete mess the Conservatives later made of the sector does illustrate how well the LibDems did.

    Here’s the problem at the moment, apart from the above, electric cars and motorcycles are much more expensive than their petrol rivals so even if range is not a problem people are reluctant to buy them, especially as batteries tend to be outclassed by tech advances almost as soon as the vehicles are sold. Time will solve this but do we have enough time? Govn investment in this sector will almost certainly be wasted money as the tech mavens move the game forward at a rate that govn’s can’t respond to. Allowing new electric car co’s to be free of all taxes and most labour laws would not be to LibDem tastes, I’d guess, but is probably the only way they would bother with the UK.

    Where are the LibDem’s on the Rolls Royce mini nuclear reactor concept, is it green or just a potential nuclear bomb spread to multiple sites all over the UK?

  • I share Barry Lofty’s view that green issues are not the only policy that matters. The economy is in a mess and has to be the first priority.
    I also find it of concern that Ed Davey mentions the banking sector. Their influence on government policy is to a large extent what has got us into this mess.

  • John Marriott 24th Jun '20 - 12:35pm

    The environment, hey? As they say; “everyone wants to go back to nature; but nobody wants to go on foot”.

    With the great panacea of public transport under threat from the current virus and cost of switching to electric vehicles stymied by price, range and lack of recharging infrastructure a target of 2030 to get rid of diesel and petrol cars is a tad ambitious to my mind.

    Yes, we do need to clean up our world; but we also need give a thought to ways of earning our living in this even more uncertain future that is staring us in the face.

  • Renewable energy is a costly, failed experiment. It has huge connection costs, grid stabilisation costs, recycling costs, and maintenance costs, especially offshore. Turbines have a short operational life compared with conventional generators. Companies only invest in this nonsense because of the ridiculous contracts that pay out even if the turbine is stopped and the lucrative subsidies. There is now a thriving industry engaged in what is known as subsidy harvesting.
    So called levelized costs leave out much of these expenses including the biggest one of all, conventional power generation must continue in the background to replace up to 100% of renewables in order to guarantee continued supply.
    So what will provide the extra electricity for the millions new cars in the green dream? Where will the Neodymium, Dysprosium and Cobalt needed for the batteries be found? Such supplies currently do not exist in any market on the planet. The green dream is a fantasy but let us not be deterred by reality.

  • Not for the first time, I find myself in agreement with Barry and John. No one seriously doubts that we need a set of serious policies to address climate change, but we are in a bit of a hole at the moment and we need joined up thinking.
    Ed wants to spend £150 bn on his green agenda. That money will come from where ? Will other areas of expenditure be cut or will it be added to the existing debt pile ? To be fair, I think that Ed has avoided over promising. We have promises of new jobs in renewable energy (good) but no silly talk about throwing workers in oil and gas on the scrap heap just yet.
    I like the idea of rewilding and hope this will be left to local communities. Home insulation is hardly an original idea but it is pragmatic, doable. No more NEW petrol/diesel care after 2030 means that there will probably still be some petrol/diesel cars out there well after 2040, which means that we will still be extracting and processing hydro carbons for another 25 years. That may upset some of the more radical environmentalists but it suggests Ed knows what he’s talking about (well he should, he was environment minister in the c******** (C-word !))
    I do have confidence that Ed will move us forward on the green agenda without crashing the economy on which all our other policies (health, education) ultimately depend.

  • Peter Hirst 24th Jun '20 - 1:27pm

    The reality is Peter that renewable energy is supplying increasing proportions of our electricity and coal is fast becoming redundant. Capacity must be increased and any surplus can be used in various way such as manufacturing hydrogen or exported. the future is renewables and despite issues such as you mention, it will continue to grow with a favourable wind.

  • Innocent Bystander 24th Jun '20 - 1:31pm

    Would these coalition achievements in “renewable energy” include Hinckley Point C? You know, the one the National Audit Office tactfully said “locks consumers into a risky and expensive project with uncertain benefits”. Less tactful souls, like myself, would rather describe it as the French and Chinese getting angry and the relevant Minister grovelling to them and giving them the legal right to impose usurious electricity prices on our grandchildren.
    This piece invokes a flowering of green capability in a nation that recently went down on its knees to the aforementioned Chinese because we could not make ourselves, a product consisting of a 6″ square of paper and two elastic bands and was also reduced to attempting to make medical ventilators from empty Fairy liquid bottles and old vacuum cleaners.
    I would prefer our political leaders first themselves, to face up to our real situation and then plan a plausible way forward instead of dangling empty dreams before an electorate who no longer believe any of them.

  • Peter Martin 24th Jun '20 - 1:50pm

    A green jobs guarantee, with training and a national living wage for anyone wanting to work on green projects.

    This sounds better than a UBI for getting money to where its needed.

    Care is needed, though, with the details to ensure the Govt isn’t providing free labour to anyone with a claimed green angle to their business. The principle of all job guarantees is that they should be for the public purpose. So, for example, if an independent contractor is using JG workers to install solar panels they do need to pay for their time. Either directly to the workers or the JG agency.

  • @Peter Hirst. Forgive me, but I don’t think that you fully appreciate the madness of a high percentage renewable policy.

    Currently, offshore wind commands a price of £162.10 /MWh against a market price of £20/MWh, the difference being subsidies. Without huge subsidies there will be no interest having the business.

    You glibly say that excess electricity can be exported. Germany, after massive investment in wind power, now finds that when wind is plentiful she has to pay dearly for neighbouring countries to take the excess. Having a huge negative cost of electricity destroys the market. Having oversupply destroys the grid.

    Germany has now reaped all the consequences of her renewable investments. These are a failing grid on the brink of collapse with a high risk of serious outages, an unstable energy market with huge fluctuations in energy costs, the highest energy prices to the user in Europe and a very unstable supply. This is why Germany is now investing in coal fired power stations with Datteln 4, a 1050 MW station being opened just last month.

  • I did not like this survey. It reads more like an advertising campaign.
    As far as the actual issues are concerned we must recognise that every thing depends on everything else.
    We must start with the means of governing our planet. We only have one planet. We need to take control of it.
    In order to try different means of ensuring that people have a proper say in their own future, we need to look at the governance of our own party. We need to consider that we need a vision for how members can work together contributing ideas, discussing and working towards common goals.
    I would like to hear views on how we can do that. In other words a genuine discussion on how we manage our own party.

  • John Marriott 24th Jun '20 - 3:46pm

    @Chris Cory
    At last, someone, who appears to agree with me (“Not for the first time I find myself in agreement with Barry and John”). Actually, Chris, maybe we actually need tge skills of a Barry John to come up with a few new ideas. Unfortunately, some of the Lib Dems’ more promising individuals have, like the Welsh maestro, retired early (I’m thinking of people like Sir Steve Webb and, dare I say, the former member for Sheffield Hallam – he wasn’t all bad). Quite frankly, if I did have a vote, it would go to Sir Ed.

  • @ john Marriott Me too.

    It’s much easier for a respectable looking safe pair of hands to sneak in the odd bit of radicalism. I’m afraid the alternative is potentially much riskier and could implode under fire from old Brillo Andrew Neil.

  • Future historians will wonder why politicians spent billions tackling predictions from flawed climate models. The models cannot be validated because they cannot simulate reality. They predict much higher global temperatures than occur in practice and then the same models are used as the basis for policy.
    If Ed Davey wants to waste trillions of our money then the taxpayers have a right to see the scientific evidence which supports this. I am very sure that the climate models concerned utilise RCP 8.5, a scenario which is so extreme that no scientist would consider it to be realistic.
    Ed, I challenge you supply the evidence.

  • Dilettante Eye 24th Jun '20 - 7:23pm

    Peter

    For sure, this Green Revolution thing truly is the stuff of unicorn chasers. A very basic understanding of physics, and I’m not talking advanced physics, just the A level stuff, would give them clues as to why, it… [green energy], is deeply flawed.

    Worse than that, their green politics come from a ‘we must’ moral agenda, but the facts of basic energy equivalence eludes them, and as a result they cannot grasp that ‘we must’ and what entropy will allow , just doesn’t fit.

    I’m deeply troubled that their ill-educated resistance to basic practical science, means that their flawed green ‘crash course’ is fast approaching us all, and whilst Talk is cheap, they will learn the hard way that Torque, is not cheap, and entropy doesn’t give a jot about a politicians…. ‘we must’.

  • Peter Martin 25th Jun '20 - 7:34am

    @ Dilettante Eye,

    So what is this “very basic understanding of physics” or the “A level stuff” we need to understand the climate? I’ve got a calculator and the backs of a few envelopes to check your figures if you’d care to supply!

    @ Peter,

    I’m not sure what these “flawed models” are to which you refer. If there’s lag in temperature rises that is likely because the oceans do take time to warm. If you remove a large frozen object from the freezer it doesn’t thaw instantaneously.

    Climate scientists, generally speaking, do things correctly. They aren’t like economists! If a model doesn’t match up with reality, ie observed results, they modify the model rather than attempt to modify reality. ie the measured data.

    So no-one should make the mistake of thinking that just because we don’t know everything that therefore we know nothing.

  • Here are the results from the CMIP5 climate models.
    https://curryja.files.wordpress.com/2016/04/slide1.png
    CMIP6 models started appearing last year. They tried to improve the way clouds are modeled without actually understanding clouds in the real world. The result is even more warming.

    Some groups of climate scientists adjust the raw measurements to make them match the models. This has been going on for years and the latest evidence was reported yesterday.
    https://notrickszone.com/2020/06/23/systemic-data-tampering-nasa-giss-alters-us-southeast-data-changes-cooling-to-warming/

  • Lorenzo Cherin 25th Jun '20 - 12:06pm

    A good approach by Ed, excellent comments , agree with Chris, and John, David, my vote is more than likely going with Ed, for the reasons mentioned, here in that he is safe and sound, as was Blair, as is Starmer, and therefore, more likely to effect the reality of change we need. On Corona he’s more gutsy than is Sir Keir!

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 25th Jun '20 - 12:30pm

    Green issues are vitally important, but I hope Ed will not focus on this to the exclusion of other issues. All parties are now rightly recognising the importance of green issues. As a party, we need to focus on issues that other parties are ignoring, such as human rights and civil liberties.
    I am voting for Ed, and indeed I have nominated him. But really I felt I had no alternative but to do so. I would not even for a moment consider voting for the other candidate, in view of the issue that we have been told we must not discuss on Lib Dem Voice. It would have been good to have had a choice…

  • David Garlick 25th Jun '20 - 2:04pm

    @Peter
    It would be really good to know who you are, where you work and why you seem to be able to go against the science that Climate Change needs dealing with especially that caused by fossil fuels?
    I have seen this sort of attack launched by many an Oil Company so many times this begins to ring alarm bells as to its voracity.

  • Paul Barker 25th Jun '20 - 2:11pm

    I did wonder why Eds piece has attracted 22 comments while Layla only has 6, the answer seems to be that the Climate Change Deniers have all piled in here & we let them. We need to start banning people who misuse their Freedoms or we will end up like Labour List; having to stop Comments altogether.

    I actually dont think The Leadership Election should be about Policy at all.

  • Barry, John and Chris. I agree about green matters being only part of an overall strategy, but this article was meant to be about green strategy. Ed has a very strong grasp of the facts and possibilities of the economy and numerous other parts of any overall campaign.
    As regards green energy, wind power is only one string to the bow. I don’t think anyone thinks that we can do it all on wind power alone. But there is no doubt that fossil fuels have to be got rid of in the medium term. Apart from tidal power which has its own problems, we should look at the French system of small nuclear generating units placed in the areas where the power is needed. This is cabon-neutral and removes the need to send electricity over long distances.

  • @David Garlick – When it comes to scientific matters, politicians make policies without having the slightest grasp of feasibility, cost, consequences or in some cases, reality.

    I take care that everything I write here is true and accurate and I’m always willing to answer questions if I know the answer. I strongly dislike seeing grand plans bandied around when they are not worth the paper on which they are written. If people start to question the propaganda then I shall have achieved my aim. I make no financial or any other gain from this and I am writing here as an individual.

    Why don’t you research some of these items for yourself? Look carefully at my links above. Take for example this peer reviewed paper that explains why climate models are not fit for purpose. I don’t expect you to wade through the detail but note the final sentence.
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feart.2019.00223/full#B97

    Then consider that such models are the basis for all this climate crisis and green dream. Then you will understand everything, including what I am doing here.

  • Laurence Cox 25th Jun '20 - 5:32pm

    @Peter

    I take care that everything I write here is true and accurate

    Then you will no doubt be interested in a critique of that paper you referenced:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2019/09/11/critique-of-propagation-of-error-and-the-reliability-of-global-air-temperature-predictions/

    This is from someone who himself has objections to the scientific consensus on global warming.

  • @Laurence Cox
    Thank you for that contribution. I am aware of the debate between Dr Patrick Frank and Dr Roy Spencer. They disagree on the detail of statistical uncertainty rather than on the failure of climate models. Dr Spencer produced the graphical comparison between models and measurement linked to in my earlier comment, so he would be the first to state that climate models are not fit for purpose.

    The debate continues on the scientific blogs and is very much welcomed by followers of science. This is the scientific method in action since it is through constructive challenge that advances in scientific understanding are made.

    There is another peer reviewed paper out this week showing that the climate models are wrong. This one is by the mathematician, Gregory Browning. I have not provided a link because I confess that the complex maths is beyond most people, especially me, but those keen on a mental challenge can google his work.

  • Apologies, the Mathematician is Gerald Browning, not Gregory.

  • richard underhill 29th Jun '20 - 7:17am

    Ed or Layla? Can we have both?

  • richard underhill 29th Jun '20 - 12:28pm

    The next leader of the Liberal Democrats will not be a former commando and/or military intelligence officer, neither are we, but there is one similarity, in that the current Labour leader is Leader of the Opposition in the Commons, as Tony Blair was.
    Paddy Ashdown’s memoirs contains a photo of him chatting to Tony Blair when John Major joined the conversation. Paddy describes him as a loser.
    Paddy also wanted the coalition to be with Labour as he told us at a large fringe meeting at federal conference hosted by the Guardian-Observer. He gave them a scoop. He telephoned Tony Blair and was answered by Cherie. Tony Blair returned the call. Paddy said that PM Gordon Brown was refusing to resign. Tony Blair said “Leave it to me”. Gordon Brown resigned, telling the media and the world that he was going to Buckingham Palace and would advise the Queen to nominate David Cameron for PM, which she did. The Cameron’s went to the palace.
    The next day the Lib Dem leader went to Downing Street and was slapped on the back by David Cameron, possibly body language for who was in charge, which was returned as they entered 10 Downing Street.
    The next leader of the Liberal Democrats should develop a political relationship with the current Leader of the Opposition. It is, perhaps, unlikely that Boris Al Johnson will join them for a triangular photo-call despite current criticisms from lifelong Tories about current economic policy.
    Keir Starmer would not want to be described as a Blairite, according to an interview with Tony Blair in the Sunday Times colour supplement on 28/6/2020, pages 8-11. The Sunday Times journalist is anonymous although obviously female, asking him questions about housework, answered by Cherie Blair QC.
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11974852/tony-blair-wash-clothes-cook-family-meal-lockdown/
    Eight pictures do not include the PM kissing their baby on the steps of Downing Street at the request of press photographers. Boris Al Johnson has not done that. It was said of a previous PM that if a scandal became public knowledge “he would sweep the country”.
    We should remember that when Paddy Ashdown’s affair with his secretary became public knowledge we went up in the polls, with press comment that she “wore black.”

  • richard underhill 1st Jul '20 - 3:32pm

    Wed 24th June 2020 – 10:30 am
    When the Green MP Caroline Lucas proposed a bill in the previous parliament she received unanimous support from the SNP MPs, regrettably no Liberal Democrat MPs.
    Today, 17/2020, SNP MP Wishart proposed a bill about the appointment of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, seeking to bring some constitutional functions within the powers of the House of Commons, obviously disliked by current Tory MPs who forced a division in the widespread absence of Labour and Lib Dem MPs.
    We should recall that a former Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan (Conservative) who was in hospital, persuaded the current Queen (younger then) to visit him in hospital. She was persuaded that the PM might die and that the next PM should be Alec Douglas Home (Conservative) an hereditary peer.
    After the Liberal win in the Orpington bye-election Harold Macmillan’s problems may have been more political than medical, but the Queen consented and the Conservative Party proceeded to decide who they wanted as their leader. Conservative MPs elected a carpenter’s son who had won an organ scholarship and a sailing race, Edward Heath, satirised by Private Eye as ‘Grocer Ted’, for his detailed knowledge of food policies and the Common Agricultural Policy. They later rejected him and chose their first woman, former Education Secretary, Mrs Margaret Thatcher (widely abused as the milk snatcher).
    As Lib Dem members vote for our next leader they should consider whether should be modernising the constitution should be our main policy. They should also consider whether President Trump’s friend Boris (Al) Johnson should be in such a powerful position by being chosen by ordinary members of the Conservative Party (see speech in Hansard) and whether there should be a Deputy Prime Minister or an Acting Deputy Prime Minister (recalling Boris’s recent period in hospital under the virus).
    Under current mathematical realities they should accept that it is not currently realistic to aspire to the post of PM, which Labour’s elected leader has said he wants.

  • Christopher Love 2nd Jul '20 - 9:03am

    Great policies here from Ed

    Please make sure we also resource schools better. I am always ‘amazed’ that we do not invest better in children – a society that does not get its children right, does not get anything right. All schools green powered by 2030?

  • Antony Watts 5th Jul '20 - 3:21pm

    I would add

    * make technology, digital, work for green

  • Antony Watts 10th Jul '20 - 9:39am

    Something odd happened to my attempt to comment, above.

    Think about transport and EVs

    How to deliver the electric energy to them for their journeys??? We need 10,000,000 home/street charging points, and 2,000,000 across our road network for longer (200m+) journeys.

    So what do the government do
    – say we will have a magificent 6250 chargepoints on our roads very soon…
    – say walk, cycle or catch an electric scooter.
    What rubbish.

    We need a program to install 1,000,000 charge points/year for the next ten years!

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