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A Record of Failure: prisons, schools and environmental disaster

June 15, 2017 2:38 PM
By Mariam Mahmood (Environment Spokesperson at Scottish Liberal Democrats)

Mariam Mahmood - Scots LibDem Environment spokesman (Mariam Mahmood)With Donald Trump backing out of the Paris Agreement and Michael Gove being appointed as the Environment Secretary, it seems that the environment is low on the political agenda and is falling further. Climate change certainly wasn't the hot topic during the snap General Election and Gove is unlikely to push it further up the agenda.

When Gove was Education Secretary he tried to have climate change removed from the geography curriculum - demonstrating how highly he thinks of environmental issues. If he brings this same vigour to his new post, we can kiss our hopes for clean air and low-carbon energy goodbye. A climate change sceptic such as himself will do nothing to implement the environmentally-friendly policies that we so desperately need to see. Instead, he will likely reverse our progress.

Indeed, the Conservatives have already reversed some of the progress of the coalition government by selling off the Green Investment Bank. Selling an environmental success story is not a great indication of the Conservatives' dedication to battling climate change. In an unstable political climate in which Brexit is fast approaching, Gove certainly cannot be trusted to transfer environmental regulations from the EU into British law.

Thankfully, all is not lost. There is only so much damage Gove can do in his new position as the energy department is largely responsible for tackling climate change. In addition to this, our newly elected and re-elected Liberal Democrat MPs will hold him to account. One such MP who will undoubtedly challenge Michael Gove's actions is Ed Davey. He must use his experience as Energy and Climate Change Secretary to ensure that Gove is listening to climate change experts and doing all that he can to tackle climate change.
Climate change is the biggest threat to our national security and we cannot allow Michael Gove to brush it aside to appease climate change sceptics and deniers. Action against climate change has been needed for too long and if the progress we have made were to be hindered, it would be disastrous for the UK and the rest of the globe. More glamorous issues such as Brexit cannot permit the fight against climate change to be pushed to the side-lines. The Liberal Democrats have strong policies on energy and climate change and we must fervently push them to ensure that climate change and environmental issues are kept on the agenda. Ed Davey can champion the UK's green credentials and hold Gove to account.