Friday, 29 November 2019

Political parties prioritise climate change.. except the Tories

A letter writer in today's Times newspaper complained that politicians have not prioritized climate change in their manifestos. Here is my response:


Your correspondent Lesley Boase (“Climate change and election campaigns,” The Times, 29 November 2019; https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/times-letters-climate-change-and-the-election-campaigns-sk5v29wwf) asks “why isn’t urgent action climate change at the top of [political parties’] manifestos”?
The day before the letter appeared, the Labour Party launched its 48-page manifesto for the environment ‘A Plan for the Environment’.( https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FINAL-FOR-WEB_13172_19-Environment-Manifesto.pdf)

At its launch in Southampton (briefly covered in The Times' ‘Red Box’, Nov 29), Mr Corbyn stressed”
“The reality is this election is our last chance to tackle the climate and environment emergency,” in setting out “Labour’s plan for real change to protect our planet and restore our natural world.” He added: “We have no time to waste…we have a choice. We can shut our eyes, cross our fingers and entrust our fate to a system that has already driven our planet to the brink of catastrophe. Or we can do everything possible to tackle the biggest threat we face.(https://labour.org.uk/press/full-text-of-jeremy-corbyns-speech-on-labours-environmental-policies/)
The opening of the foreword to the Green Party manifest states: “Above all, the climate and environmental emergency rages from the Amazon to the Arctic. The science is clear – the next ten years are probably the most important in our history.”

The first chapter – 27 pages of an 88 page the document  - sets out in great detail the party’s ‘Green New Deal’ offer, opening with  these words: ” In 2019, we face a collective challenge greater than we have faced for decades. The climate we all rely on is breaking down.”(www.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/Elections/Green%20Party%20Manifesto%202019.pdf)

Admittedly the Conservative manifesto has slim pickings on climate change (https://assets-global.website-files.com/5da42e2cae7ebd3f8bde353c/5dda924905da587992a064ba_Conservative%202019%20Manifesto.pdf),Although Boris Johnson does make the ‘guarantee’ in his introduction over ““Reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.”

But he then failed to turn up to the only leaders’ debate specifically on climate change and the environment  held on Channel Four on  28 November, to explain or defend Conservative party policies. (“Tories left on ice in TV debate as leaders vie for climate credentials,” 29 November 2019; www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/nov/28/tories-left-on-ice-in-tv-debate-as-leaders-vie-for-climate-credentials)

Lesley Boase should try reading the manifestos before going into print condemning their lack of attention to climate change.

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