Lib Dems ‘Fighting the Greens’ by Steve Bolter (Quickie responses to Green Party and green NGO taunts )
By Steve Bolter Vice Chair (Politics), Green Liberal Democrats
Lib Dems 'Fighting the Greens'
Quickie responses to Green Party and green NGO taunts
Mostly made late in 2014
Direct accusations. We need to look at the whole truth.
- 1 They allege that "Lib Dems voted against a target to decarbonise electricity by 2030 in the 2013 Energy Act."
No, the vote was not against a target, but a vote about when was the optimum time to set it.
- 2 They allege that Lib Dem MPs "Supported fracking".
We have not voted to ban it, but have voted for very strong regulation which will mean that there will be very little place for it in our energy mix. If FOE's wish for nuclear power to be prematurely shut down were realised, the pressure for fossil fuel could push its price up high enough to make fracking viable.
- 3 They allege that Lib Dems "Opposed new binding European targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency."
The overriding aim is to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Allowing each country to choose the best mix of investment in:- renewables; other low carbon energy sources; and efficiency, to achieve that aim, is better than prescribing binding targets in each as it could lead to more rapid and perhaps deeper cuts.
- 4 They allege that Lib Dems "Supported new road building"
Well, yes some. Congestion causes excess emission of greenhouse gases and of pollution (chemical and acoustic) that damages human health (a hazard which discourages cycling). The Lib Dems are proponents of public transport and minimising road travel. However; action on congestion blackspots is good for the environment.
- 5 They allege that Lib Dems have "Been the driving force behind the Lobbying Act, curtailing charities' ability to campaign on things like fracking and the environment." and "Supported the weakening of the planning system to make it more developer friendly."
Have we? I thought these were Tory Driven, with the Lib Dems giving reluctant support in exchange for concessions which protected charities campaigning on their aims and limited the extent of developer friendliness.
Would we need …if we had….questions
These seem to be reluctant acceptance that the policies we are putting forward are the right ones, but chastising us for taking intermediate measures when the Tories prevented us from fully implementing them.
This is where we differ from the Green Party. We make progress when we can. They are all or nothing, preferring to shout from the side-lines over taking small steps in the right direction.
- 6 "Would we need a zero-carbon Britain bill if Lib Dems had backed a 2030 decarbonisation target, opposed fracking, and clamped down on coal in Government?"
Yes we would still need the legislation necessary to achieve the target.
- 7 "Would we need a heating and energy-efficiency bill if they'd championed a massive programme to insulate the UK's 4 million cold homes rather than backed the half-hearted and wholly inadequate Green Deal?"
The Lib Dems have long championed a massive program to insulate homes. The electorate did not give us enough votes to enable us to take the post of chancellor. The Green Deal was the most the Tories let us do at the time. We have continually sought and achieved more, but there is still insufficient funding to support home insulation. The building industry lobby pressure on the Tories has led them to dilute and delay proposals for higher thermal specifications for buildings.
Fact: We have "championed a massive program to insulate the UKs 4 million cold homes" and those that are only kept warm by excessive energy use too.
Irrelevance: We could only do as much as the major coalition partners allowed.
Fact: We need new law on heating and energy efficiency.
Spring Conference 2015
Very little Green Party and green NGO reaction to Spring Conference has come in yet.
The Motion F6 Stronger Economy, Fairer Society, Opportunity for Everybody, which forms the basis of our manifesto, features environmental sustainability, not in a ghetto, but running through all sections.
The Motion F8 Five Green Laws draws together our environmental policy and expand on it.
It also informs the manifesto and the campaign.
Detail and a video of the debate* is at:
[* Ed Davy's opening speech missing from video. Please check later for update with amended notion text.]
Sustainability is the heart of our policy.
Only an environmentally sustainable economy can be a strong economy, and only an environmentally sustainable society can be a fair society which is fair to this generation and those that follow.