High hopes ‘Green Ed’ will put climate change back up agenda

Greenpeace has "high hopes" about Ed Miliband's ability to hold the coalition to account, while Friends of the Earth describe as Labour's greenest ever leader.

There are high hopes from the climate movement that the new Labour leader will make his party greener and better scrutinise David Cameron’s claim to lead ‘the greenest government ever’.

Reacting to Ed Miliband’s victory on Saturday, the head of Greenpeace John Sauven told the BBC:

“We have high hopes that the man who brought an end to the era of coal-fired power stations with unlimited emissions will be the right man to hold Cameron’s ‘greenest government ever’ to their promises.”

While this morning, Friends of the Earth’s director Andy Stkins described Ed Miliband as “the greenest leader of the Labour Party to date”.

So far the coalition have cut clean energy budgets and environmental watchdogs, they’ve supported new deep sea oil drilling, and they’ve already rolled back on key green pledges on illegal logging and support for green energy pioneers, as well as putting on hold promised new regulations to clean up power stations. There has even been speculation that the Department of Energy and Climate Change could be shut down altogether, crippled by the anticipated scale of the cuts to its budgets.

It’s no wonder therefore that a Yougov poll published today on Liberal Democrat Voice shows that half of Lib Dem members think that the coalition should be making protection of the environment more of a priority. Equally, three-quarters want clean energy budgets protected or increased, and the majority of Lib Dems favour a moratorium on deep sea oil drilling until lessons have been learned from the BP spill.

Widely applauded for his efforts in Copenhagen and in changing the last government’s attitude to green issues, Labour’s new leader could very well make a pitch to outflank the coalition in this area.

During his campaign Ed Miliband made clear that as leader he would advocate for a more interventionist green industrial strategy, and it is certain Labour’s new leader will, for example, put pressure on the coalition to adequately finance the new green investment bank, protect key clean energy budgets, and lobby for the UK to take a pro-active role in global climate talks.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.