The Climate Debate: Who, What, How?

Ballot box - voting on the climate election

Climate change has moved considerably up the priority list of issues surrounding the 2019 General Election. This theme was common amongst younger voters with a YouGov poll showing that 45% of 18 to 24-year olds put the environment as their second biggest concern after Brexit.

The conservatives are calling this the ‘Brexit Election’ however the Green Party has made claims that the future won’t get another chance, with Co-leader Sian Berry stating that “this must be the Climate Election”. The purpose of this post is to outline the different party policies on pressing matters like climate change and highlight the different parties’ commitment to environmental change.

Following from the Channel 4 News Climate debate on the 28th November 2019. We wanted to highlight the policies and the claims made by those parties who attended on their stance on the climate crisis and what plans they have to tackle the problem.

The Green Party

It goes without saying the Green Party has the biggest argument for tackling climate change with its call to spending £100 billion a year on facing the ‘climate emergency’. They have set a target for net-zero emissions target by 2030 and plan to do this by looking at all layers of society like new homes, industry, and energy. As well as the agriculture of food and how we deal with our land.

In addition to this, they want to tax dairy and meats, but they also want the industry to change in order to reduce the amount of meat they are producing and work on reducing the prices of the greener, healthier choices.

The Labour Party

Jeremy Corbyn stated that this is the “last chance to tackle the climate and environment emergency”. With claims that labour will kickstart a green industrial revolution. Labour have made implications for the investment in green energy jobs, solar, wind and wave power. Likewise, they have made plans to retrofit homes to make them more sustainable.

During the debate, Corbyn was asked about his position on the expansion of Heathrow for a third runway to which he claims he does not agree with. However, around half a year ago over half of Labour MPs voted for a runway expansion.

To tackle the aviation issue, Labour has also pledged to expand the rail network as well as the rail network around Europe, to promote travel through public transport rather than flying.

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems have stated the ‘climate crisis is more important than Brexit’. Leader of the party, Jo Swinson believes we could reach our net-zero emissions target by 2045 however we should try to do it as quickly as we can.

Firstly, the Liberal Democrats stance regarding aviation is that they want to implement a frequent flyer tax for those individuals taking more than three long haul flights a year. Similarly, with the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats want to retrofit homes to ensure they are properly insulated however it will require majority public support to implement these matters themselves.

Plaid Cymru

Adam Price, leader of the Plaid Cymru party initiated during the debate the plans for a trinity of zeros; zero waste, zero carbon and zero poverty by 2030. Making the claim that we have the technology to reach carbon neutrality now, however, what is lacking is the political will.

Moreover, he believes in local food systems and ensuring food is produced locally, both plant and animal protein. This, he feels will help to tackle this climate emergency. Additionally, proper investment is required of transport infrastructure.

The SNP

Nicola Sturgeon came to the debate with evidence of what Scotland is already achieving in their mission to solve the climate crisis. Scotland has already halved its emissions. With the SNP claiming they want to achieve net-zero by 2045 however have plans to reduce all emissions by 75% by 2030.

Similarly, with other parties, she states that we need to think more carefully about where food is sourced from and ensuring that the food produced is more environmentally friendly. “The practices used in agriculture and farming need to change.”

With regard to industry and transport, the SNP believes bus infrastructure needs to commence. Additionally, Scotland also has plans to decarbonise all flights within Scotland by 2040. The SNP has a commitment to a new home building standard by 2024 with no fossil fuel boilers entering these homes.

Conclusion

>Given that these party leaders did not attend the debate, we do not deem it fair to comment on their political stance regarding the climate crisis. Perhaps this speaks for itself?

>The different policies within the parties remain similar. With all addressing to reach a net-zero emission no later than 2045. There is a big commitment to public transport development and making trips across Europe more accessible through public transport over flying.


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