World Environment Day is far more important than some fake "Britain Day"


The proposed "Britain Day" is another piece of Labour nonsense.  I can think of nothing more depressing and less British than a compulsory celebration of voluntary service, which seems to be what they are proposing.

Today is World Environment Day - another artificial concept but at least not a fake celebration.  After all there is little to celebrate. Although we have heard a lot from both David Cameron and Gordon Brown about the importance of climate change, hard solutions have been conspicuous only by their absence.

All the parties are agreed about the need for a climate change bill to set a long-term framework for efforts to "decarbonise" the economy, but targets are only part of the answer.

If targets solved problems on their own, we would be the best governed country in the world.

Only the Liberal Democrats have brought forward any significant plans to change our behaviour - see below. Some of these ideas are beginning to be copied by the other main parties.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery but I am totally confident Liberal Democrats will continue to set the pace on policy simply because the other parties do not understand the urgency of the challenge or have the team commitment so clearly shown by our leadership.  

Voters know which party has been concerned with green issues for longest, and they know a fake when they see one. I firmly believe that, as climate change rightly continues to soar up the political agenda, people will go for the original and not the copy.

Three Key Detailed Green Policy Programmes from the Liberal Democrats 

1) Green Tax Switch If we do not tackle the problems caused by cars and planes there can be no serious plan to reduce emissions. With a steeply graduated vehicle excise duty, newly purchased low carbon cars would pay nothing while gas-guzzlers would pay £2,000 a year. Our reforms of aviation duty would levy a tax on the emissions - whether a passenger or freight flight - regardless of the number of passengers. That would encourage fuller flights and a shift to fuel efficient aircraft. See the details here 

2) Greener HomesOur average energy bill is £385 a year more than the average bill in Sweden, even though January temperatures there are 7 degrees Celsius lower than ours. We want low carbon building standards for all new homes by 2011, and a comprehensive upgrading plan for our existing housing stock. That would fund serious cuts in carbon emissions with energy mortgages and change the incentives on energy companies to make more money by selling less, not more, energy. You can read the details here 

3) Greener Electricity: We have also set out firm proposals for generating our electricity without resort to nuclear power which, with all its costs and risks, would tend to compete with, rather than complement, renewable energy. Renewables need to be matched with a variable power source, like gas-fired or coal-fired stations, rather than inflexible nuclear which is either on or off. That is why our mini-paper stresses the importance of carbon capture and storage as the only intermediate solution before a fully renewable world. You can read the details here


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