Tag Archives: green policy

Global Climate Strike this Friday

Before us lies an opportunity, to be leaders and advocates of climate justice.

Across the world, young people have been school-striking to raise awareness of the climate emergency. We have reached a stage whereby billions of people now know about the causes and impacts of climate change, yet apathy is preventing our governments from acting. Empty goals of decarbonising by 2050 are not enough, especially when we’re failing to meet targets set by the Paris Accord. The consequence of inaction is being complicit in worsening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

If we don’t act, then we are causing poverty, death and destruction.

As a party, I believe that we should be more ambitious when it comes to the climate emergency. The Green New Deal shows that it’s possible to decarbonise the economy within 10 years whilst bringing about social justice. This could create millions of clean, prosperous jobs across the country- reducing poverty whilst helping the planet. It will require us to invest in people that have been left behind by society, wildlife habitats that we have willfully destroyed and a society that is resilient to the guaranteed impacts of climate change. Is this not the embodiment of a “fairer society, stronger economy”?

Acting now and supporting a Green New Deal means supporting the most vulnerable in society, developing our economy and safeguarding the environment.

Climate change is often overlooked as an important issue, perhaps because it doesn’t have immediate and catchy headlines for the mainstream media or we still don’t fully understand what will happen. It exposes how vulnerable the lowest in society are and the frightening future that we will be leaving to future generations. When we recognise the climate crisis as a social, economic, environmental and political problem then we must feel compelled to act and act soon.

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Lib Link: Wera Hobhouse MP on banning exports of plastics

Wera Hobhouse had a piece published on Politics Home yesterday on banning the export of plastics.

It goes without saying that the wealthiest countries, like us, who have the privilege of the means to be able to sustainably deal with waste, need to accept responsibility instead of shipping plastic waste around the world for poorer countries to deal with.

This begins with increasing and developing our recycling facilities. If we cannot recycle it, we shouldn’t be using it. 

In the article, Wera also discusses the Plastic Pollution Bill, presented to Parliament in February by Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael. It sets out to

  • ensure that by 2042 no plastic which is not capable of being recycled is
    produced or used
  • eliminate the use of non-essential plastics by 2025; and
  • progressively reduce plastic pollution.

Just as Lib Dems led on the 5p plastic bag charge, we are leading the fight against plastic pollution and fighting for measures to protect our environment.

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The Greens show their true colours

As with any election campaign, successful or otherwise, it is important to step back once the dust has settled and consider what can be learned and what can be improved upon. The recent European Parliament elections are no different in that regard. In particular, the dynamic between the different parties campaigning for a People’s Vote, which became increasingly fractious as the campaign went on, is worth reflecting on, particularly as further cooperation with these parties is likely to be at the heart of the upcoming leadership election.

At the campaign’s outset, Vince Cable was no doubt right to seek to work with these parties, as it was important to appear united in the face of the Brexit Party threat. However, following the other parties’ initial reluctance and eventual outright hostility towards the Liberal Democrats, is this avenue one we should seek to follow again at future elections? I would argue no.

In the case of the Green Party in particular, they could not have been more clear in their feelings towards us, suggesting that at best a vote for us would be a “compromise”, and at worst that we “could be dangerous”, having previously supposedly “aided and abetted austerity” (rather than moderated it). It is obvious that the Green Party does not see us as friends and allies, and so I would suggest we stop treating them as such.

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Our message to the nation following the EU Election results

What a great night it was for those who want us to remain in the EU, working for a better Britain, a better Europe and a better world.

The result presents a challenging opportunity for us. Are we up to it?

It will be a challenge to convert the Stop Brexit voters into our true supporters and activists.

It’s a challenge to outdo the Conservatives in taking on the Brexit party’s claim to represent the nation, constantly reminding people that the total vote share for remain (40.4%) was greater than Leave (around 34.9%). We need to repeatedly remind people that the Brexit Party started not from nothing, but from a large UKIP platform, with its discriminatory elements and empty promises based sorely on anger at an unfair system.

It’s a challenge to out-do the Labour party in its claim to represent ordinary workers, whose best deal is within the EU and developing our people’s skills in a less centralised UK.

The opportunity is there to state more clearly the case for remain, for improvements to the EU, for stepping up the use of our power within the EU, for our power and influence in the world for justice and peace, for dealing with inequality and migration in the UK and the world and for dealing with huge world economic entities and the environmental crisis.

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Press Release: Cross-Party Climate Change Statement

On Tuesday 23rd April 2019, sparked by the visit of Greta Thunberg to the UK, the Westminster leaders of the UK political parties, except for the Prime Minister and the DUP (both invited), took part in a private round-table with a number of the leaders of the youth climate strikes to discuss the UK’s response to the deteriorating ecological crises.

At that meeting, the Westminster Leaders present agreed to three actions. These actions mark a significant cross-party response to Greta’s visit to the UK; the UK youth climate strikes and ongoing climate protests; the IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5 Degrees; the upcoming Committee on Climate Change report on a net-zero greenhouse gas target for the UK on May 2nd; and above all, the knowledge that it is young people across the world who will bear the brunt of the climate crisis.

There is an open invitation for the Government, and all other political parties, to sign-up to these cross-party actions.

Ongoing Cross-Party Cooperation & Dialogue with Young People

By working together collaboratively, political parties, even without the Government, can start to build the bold solutions and public consent needed to ensure young people are guaranteed a secure, safe and prosperous future.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to ongoing cross-party roundtables with the youth climate strikers – and to increased cross-party collaboration on climate change, including an agreement to issue a statement endorsing the UK’s bid to host COP26 in 2020.

Supporting the UK Youth Climate Assemblies

Over the coming months, the UK youth climate strikers will continue to expand and build their movement – and it is essential that the views of young people are incorporated into the decision-making of politicians and political parties and that politicians have chance to engage directly with young people across the UK.

Westminster party leaders therefore agree to actively support and engage with youth climate assemblies in towns and cities across the UK.

Stress-Test UK Climate Policy

The United Kingdom has signed and ratified the Paris Climate Agreement – the international treaty negotiated in 2015 part of the United Nations’ climate framework – which places a commitment on the UK to meet the targets in the Paris Agreement, including efforts to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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This Weekend You Can Help Stop the Climate Emergency

I’ll admit it, I do not always come to conference fully prepared.  Well, to be honest, I’m often reading the motions or amendments for the first time in the hall.  As a result I have sat in debates and wondered “why has Y been carved out” or “why hasn’t this great idea been extended to X” and occasionally “how on earth has line Z made it in”!

I know I am not the only one –speakers in debates often raise everything from minor tweaks to wholly new directions in policy in their speeches and interventions, only for a summation speech to respond with the reproving reminder “some good points have been made and we would have liked to have considered them at the consultation stage but alas they were not raised…..”

Well conference-goers, do not spend your weekend being (as I have) a disappointed would-be policy tweaker. Bring your ideas to the Consultative Sessions!

In particular, as a member of the snappily-titled Climate Change and Low-Carbon Economy Policy Working Group I want to urge you to come and spend your Saturday lunchtime in our clean, green company.

The Working Group has produced an initial consultation paper, but detailed policy formulation is still at an early stage so your thoughts, ideas and inspiration on this cornerstone of Lib Dem policy would be very welcome.  We put forward some excellent policies in the 2017 manifesto that have been developed recently by the Vision for Britain: Clean, Green and Carbon Free report.  Our task as a Working Group is to build on this strong base.

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Radical Ideas for the Future

At the moment, virtually all of our policies – save for our stance on the EU – amount to tinkering at the edges of a flawed, if not broken, political system. This is a result of the fact that there is generally a fair amount of consensus within mainstream politics on a number of key issues.

All parties agree that we need to build more housing, that we need more funding of schools, the NHS and the police, and that we need to protect the environment. The major policy debates at the moment concern immigration, nationalisation of public infrastructure, the EU, education and public sector borrowing – most of which are couched in simple binary yes/no terms, depending on whether you support Labour or the Tories.

Rather than trying to join in the political consensus or meet Labour and the Tories halfway (e.g. see our current policy on housing), I genuinely believe that we have an opportunity to pursue an alternative set of policies that will mark us out as distinct.

Along with electoral reform and being pro-European, six policy ideas from various places within the liberal political tradition, come to mind:

1. A national housebuilding company

A national construction company set up to build houses, with the government taking a majority stake and offering financial guarantees. Instead of just pledging a high-sounding number of homes to be built each year and leaving it to the private sector, a government-backed company would have the opportunity to take responsibility for recruiting and training construction workers (with a focus on British workers), building homes and maintaining homes – with profits going back to the Treasury.

Combined with relaxing the rules preventing local authorities from borrowing to fund social housing, a national housebuilding company would be an exciting yet pragmatic way of building homes while balancing the risk and reward of construction projects.

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Nature can’t be shuffled around like politicians or for profit

lichen - ramalina siliquosaBiodiversity offsetting? It sounds as interesting as a ministerial reshuffle. But a reshuffle is here today, gone tomorrow. The government’s proposal to allow developers to build over wildlife spots providing they ‘recreate’ them elsewhere is more than a minor change within the incomprehensible thicket of environmental rules. Biodiversity offsetting could threaten our fragile biodiverse landscapes.

Owen Paterson told the Independent:

For the developer there are massive advantages. You’d have certainty, you’d have clarity, and you’d have speed and a massive reduction of cost. But you’d also leave the environment in a better place than you found it for the longer term.

Wildlife groups are nervous.

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Green groups say all main parties failing on green leadership

Nick Clegg Cathkin MarshSeven key environment groups have given their verdict on the environmental performance of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband. Their report, Green Standard 2013, is pretty condemning.

After a promising first few months, the coalition government and the UK’s senior politicians have been largely silent about the UK’s environmental goals. The prime minister’s promise that he would lead “the greenest government ever” has been devalued by the chancellor’s framing of high environmental standards as a threat to economic success.

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How hard are the Lib Dems willing to fight for their green reputation?

In a thoughtful piece on Business Green, editor James Murray asks:

How hard are the Lib Dems willing to fight for their green reputation?

Lib Dem bird green 700To paraphrase him, he says “move over Green Party”:

It is the Lib Dems that have repeatedly pioneered demanding yet largely realistic green policies. You might not have agreed with every green policy they proposed – for example, the party’s long standing opposition to nuclear power continues to divide environmentalists – but for much of the past 20 years the Party has maintained an admirably distinctive green voice at Westminster.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRoland 18th Sep - 7:25pm
    @Jennie - Sometimes it takes an outsider to get people to see what people in their own organisation have been telling them for years... However,...
  • User Avatarfrankie 18th Sep - 7:23pm
    If the Tories do regain power they will leave without a deal and hope after five or so years people forget the pain. Many of...
  • User AvatarTom Harney 18th Sep - 7:07pm
    The result of the next election will depend on a number of things, like what the other parties do. The one we can influence is...
  • User AvatarAlex Macfie 18th Sep - 7:05pm
    David Allen: Johnson would do that anyway if he won an overall majority. He currently heads a minority government, but is behaving like the PM...
  • User Avatarjoe 18th Sep - 7:04pm
    Is it not about time you started calling yourselfs the none liberal democrats the vote was to leave and youse want to just ignore it...
  • User AvatarJennie 18th Sep - 6:56pm
    Lots of long standing lib dems have been pushing for a revoke policy since the day after the referendum, but sure, let's credit the n00b...
Thu 10th Oct 2019