“The chancellor’s push for gas power has repoliticised an array of environmental and economic issues, argues James Murray“
We could wish, James, we could wish… Love the visualization of the poor survivors clinging to existence in a bunker in Northern Scandinavia, by the way
When the history of climate change in the UK is written, probably from a bunker somewhere in Northern Scandinavia, the last few months will be noted as the moment when the country’s admirable political consensus on the need to tackle climate threats and build a green economy finally shattered.
The UK does not have the world’s most vibrant green economy – how can it when the government has managed to engineer the second serious recession in three years – but it does have several advantages that has made the country a highly attractive proposition for green businesses and investors.
We boast excellent natural renewable energy resources, an admirable science and engineering skills base, and, while it might not be at its most popular right now, the City of London gives green businesses access to significant levels of capital and financial expertise. But most of all we had a remarkably solid political consensus on the need to tackle climate change and nurture the development of a green economy.
Our political leaders obviously differed on which precise policies would best drive green growth, but there was a broad agreement that climate change represents an existential threat to the global economy and as such a greener economic settlement is required. This consensus, coupled with significant support from business and civil society, enabled the passage of the world’s first Climate Change Act, laid the foundations for a series of progressive green policies, and helped cement the green economy’s position as one of the fastest growing sectors in our otherwise moribund economy.
But, in the space of a few short months, Chancellor George Osborne has shattered that consensus – a consensus that was hard-won, carefully nurtured, and essential to all of our economic and environmental futures.