Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their green record

The Tory conference kicked off with the party leadership saying it was dedicating its first day to ‘green growth’, yet the coalition's record has several flaws.

The Conservative party conference kicked off with the party leadership saying it was dedicating its first day to ‘green growth’ in an apparent move to put the environment back on the political agenda. This follows hot on the heels of an impressive climate speech from foreign secretary William Hague.

However, it emerges that only one event on the official conference agenda will actually be about climate change and the environment, and this is somewhat offset by the news that Australian Conservative leader, Tony Abbott – who once called climate change science ‘absolute crap’ – is set to address the conference.

However, BusinessGreen quotes Friends of the Earth’s director, Andy Atkins, welcoming the news and another NGO source saying:

“It contrasts with last week’s Labour conference where neither climate change nor the environment made it onto the agenda.”

So far the coalition has been seen as very weak on the environment – and the decision to devote a day to ‘green growth’ could be a response to the calculation that Ed Miliband will likely try and outflank the coalition in this area.

Since the election the green issues once championed by David Cameron have garnered little to no attention from the Conservative leadership. Furthermore, their green record to date has undermined the prime minister’s claim to lead ‘the greenest government ever’.

• On Friday climate secretary Chris Huhne gave the nod to the first deep- sea oil drilling in UK waters since BP’s Gulf spill – despite the fact the official independent investigation into the accident has yet to conclude. This followed revelations the UK vetoed German proposals to toughen international scrutiny of oil drilling. Greenpeace are now planning legal action to try and stop the risky drilling.

• The heads of more than sixty clean energy companies have written to the government to urge them not to cut a programme aimed at supporting new green industries and green jobs. This followed a separate letter signed by 50 leading business people from companies including British Airways, Microsoft and BT as well as NGO leaders voicing concern that the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review could ‘starve’ the proposed Green Investment Bank.

• The coalition already announced significant cuts to clean energy budgets amid reports that the Treasury plans could cripple the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Despite this, the minister responsible for DECC – Chris Huhne – was the first Lib Dem to join the ‘star chamber’ after agreeing cuts.

This prompted some campaigners to ask if he couldn’t have fought harder, especially given recent YouGov polling of Lib Dem members which showed three-quarters of those polled want clean energy spending protected or increased, and that half of Lib Dems think the coalition should be making protection of the environment a higher priority.

• The coalition dropped two key green pledges aimed at tackling illegal logging and encouraging green energy pioneers, and put another – aimed at regulation pollution from power stations – on hold.

• The Sustainable Development Commission has been axed, and leaked documents suggest a number of other green institutions supported by government, including The Carbon Trust and The Environment Agency, are now under threat.

With all this in mind, it will be interesting to see if today signals a revival of Mr Cameron’s interest in green issues. Of course, the real test will be the level of commitment to clean energy shown in the Comprehensive Spending Review, and the green credentials of the new government’s first energy law, which is expected to come before the House in November.

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15 Responses to “Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their green record”

  1. Claire Spencer

    Interesting! RT @leftfootfwd: Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their record: reports @jossgarman

  2. Shamik Das

    Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their green record: reports @jossgarman on @leftfootfwd

  3. Joss Garman

    Are the Tories picking up the green agenda again? Just blogged

  4. carbonmeme

    Left Foot Forward: Tories preach ?green growth? amid mounting criticism of their green record #climate

  5. Paul Jeater

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their green record

  6. Thomas Hobbes

    Nothing to say about the 10:10 video Joss?

    You must be just a little but miffed they’ve let the whole ‘murder the children of the unbelievers’ agenda out of the bag

  7. Andy Parsons

    RT @leftfootfwd: Tories preach ‘green growth’ amid mounting criticism of their green record

  8. Mr. Sensible

    The Tories have got a lot to do to be taken seriously on climate change.

  9. Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – By getting rid of Runway 3 at Heathrow the coalition did more towards climate change in their first month than the Labour Party did with all their wasted talk for 13 years.

    That’s a fact dude.

    And as for this Joss Garman, apart from love bombing Ed Miliband every time he gets the chance, what exactly is the point of him any more since his “Plane Stupid” campaign is now effectively redundant?

    And Joss Garman; before you start casting your stones towards people such as Tony Abbott who may address the Tory conference, I remember Bono jetting around the world in private planes addressing the Labour conference.

    It’s called hypocrisy Joss Garman. Judging by your postings it’s something you seem to be particularly keen on…

  10. Mr. Sensible

    Mouse, scrapping Runway 3 is one of the few good things this government has done.

    But for a government which calls itself ‘the Greenest Government Ever’, what is green about possibly scrapping the DEC, and allowing deapwater drilling in Shetland when we don’t even know what caused the Gulf of Mexico slick yet?

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Sensible – One go.

    Runway 3 gone.

    More than Labour did in 13 years….

    The Greenest Government Ever…

    Nit pick and harp on all you like – the facts are the facts no matter how you wish it wasn’t so…

    On another subject: Let me guess; you think it’s right for a shelf stacker in Tesco to pay taxes to give Eric Clapton Child Benefit… bet you do…

  12. Rupert Read

    Ignore the climate-denying trolls. The real point is this: ‘green growth’ is a contradiction in terms. See Tim Jackson’s ‘Prosperity without growth’, or the Green Party Manifesto, for the only truly sustainable way forward.

  13. Anon E Mouse

    Rupert Read – Don’t call me a climate denier when you know that’s not the case, it shows deceit – how can one deny a climate – are you mad?

  14. soc/res/invest

    Tories preach 'green growth' amid mounting criticism of their green record

  15. Anonymous

    Lefties: Climate Blame was your Iraq War of fear mongering and Climate WMD lies.
    Fellow Former Climate BLAME Believer Majority Voters:
    2012 will mark 26 years of CO2 crisis warnings, therefore always refer to climate change in the past tense and always refer to the CO2 mistake as the “Great CO2 Exaggeration”. Never say climate mitigation for it was really just taxing the air with bank funded and corporate run Carbon Trading Stock Markets ruled by politicians or T.A.B.F.C.R.C.T.S.M.R.P. for short. Sustainability was really just “poverty” and the new “denier” is anyone left now who still thinks anyone will still vote YES to taxing the air we breathe to tame the wild climate and make it colder. And remember that scientists are still the enemy for it was they who poisoned the planet with their pesticides in the first place and now these criminals ride the dying wave of the consultant’s wet dream of climate change research. Climate Change wasn’t a lie; it was the study of a worst case scenario of an assumed crisis. RIP climate blame as history marks our latest venture into omen worship; “I see the changes!”
    And let’s not forget journalists; “lazy copy and paste artists”.

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