This Weekend You Can Help Stop the Climate Emergency

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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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.

Our policies make a difference.  Lib Dems in 2010-15 laid the foundations for some of the key successes Britain can boast on the low carbon economy, most notably our world-leading position in Offshore Wind.  As the climate emergency becomes more urgent, our policy should become more radical.  At the same time, we need to distil ideas that are simple to explain and can capture the public’s imagination in a way that can be translated into electoral success.

For example, what do you think about an economy-wide carbon tax with the proceeds being paid directly to the population in an equal dividend?  Should more of the electricity system be in community/local authority hands? Could a reform of council tax or developer levies incentivise a meaningful drive for energy efficiency in buildings?

Our debate is framed by the themes set out in the Vision for Britain report: Power, Heat in Buildings, Transport, Industry, Sustainable Bioenergy Agriculture and Land use change, Financing the Transition, Delivering the Transition, Building Support for Change.  The full consultation paper is here.

That’s a lot to discuss in 90 minutes but we will do our best to get all your bright ideas discussed or logged for future development.  If you can’t make it to the session please send in your thoughts in response to the consultation paper.  Working Group members would also be happy to discuss the topic at regional conferences or elsewhere.

Consultation Sessions are a great chance to engage our brilliant members at an early stage so if you are there, please join us at 13:00 on Saturday at Hilton Balmoral Room to help us create the world-saving, epoch-defining, eye-catching, election-winning Lib Dem zero carbon policy of the future. [No pressure.]

See you there.

 

* Alex Meredith is a former PPC for Wantage and writes a blog on energy and climate policy at www.brightgreendragon.com

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