Opinion: Leading the fight against climate change

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Climate change has risen to the top of the UK’s political agenda in recent months. The Prime Minister talks about it, the leader of the Conservatives talks about it. But the role of our Party on this issue has always been to lead the way and we will continue to do so. Not only that, we’ll continue to press for Britain to take global leadership on fighting climate change.

At our Conference we will be debating our new policy paper ‘Zero Carbon Britain – Taking a Global Lead’. This paper encapsulates the vision, determination and political will of the Liberal Democrats to present policy that tackles climate change. No other party has presented anything so comprehensive or ambitious. Gordon Brown and David Cameron have reached a consensus in which green talk is encouraged, but green action is postponed. But we can do things differently.

We want to make Britain carbon neutral by the year 2050. There are four principles on which a carbon-neutral Britain will be built. First, we must raise the price of carbon. By raising green taxes and strengthening the EU Emissions Trading System, we can ensure that the financial cost of polluting behaviour will rise.

Second, we can boost green technologies. That means providing incentives for transitional technologies, encouraging business and consumers to adapt, and introducing tough vehicle emission regulations and investing in renewable energy.

Third, we can promote greener lifestyles by requiring new homes to meet robust green standards, by offering “green mortgages” to those that want to improve the standards of their current homes and by concentrating investment in key rail and light rail services.

Fourth, we can ensure that the United Kingdom adapts to the realities that climate change brings. Weather patterns have changed and we must be prepared to deal with the stark realities of extreme weather.

When it comes to fighting climate change Labour and the Conservatives have nothing to offer but bluster and obfuscation. In the midst of this, we continue to lead with innovative policy ideas.

* Ming Campbell is MP for Fife North East, and Leader of the Liberal Democrats.

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9 Comments

  • Geoffrey Payne 12th Sep '07 - 1:13pm

    How to change China? By providing leadership!
    China ought to persuade itself to do something. Global warming has led to the melting of glaciers in the Himalayers that feed some of the great rivers of China. As the amount of melting water reduces and the rivers dwindle, millions of people will face famine in the future.
    At some point China will have to confront the terrible ecological problems it faces. Then it will get ideas from the west.
    It can’t happen quickly enough of course, but there is no other way.

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