To what extent have the environmental policies of recent governments been 'all talk and no walk'?

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  • To what extent have the environmental policies of recent governments been 'all talk and no action'? 45
    • Labour's policies
      • Transport
        • Their policies weren't coherent. They seemed reluctant to introduce policies.
        • Despite commitments to reducing emissions, Brown reduced fuel duty in 2000 - fairly early on.
        • They gave the green light for airport expansion.
        • They offered incentives of up to £5000 to purchase an electric car and congestion charges were introduced in London to disincentivise high levels of driving.
      • International Agreements
        • Can be said they were international leaders having played a key role in the Kyoto agreement and Rio de Janeiro treaty
        • Kyoto 1997 specified that greenhouse gas emissions should be cut to 1990 levels
          • For the US this was 7%, the EU 6% and Japan 6%
          • Kyoto became legally binding in 2005.
        • However, the Copenhagen treaty was a farce. No global targets for emission reductions  by 2050, it was not legally binding and those who did pledge to cut emissions set targets at the lower end of their range.
      • Background
        • Before the 1997 election,  New Labour didn't focus greatly on the environment  in their campaigning focusing instead on areas such as the NHS and education.
        • Tony Blair did criticise other government s for their lack of action to tackle the climate change.
        • There were no sweeping statements, unlike the Conservatives/Coalition like 'vote blue, go green' or 'we'll be the greenest government ever'.
        • In that respect that wasn't much 'talk'.
    • Coalition policies
      • Transport
        • Decision not to tax planes directly per flight but instead remain with the system its paid per person demonstrates the party's inability to put the environment before party popularity.
          • Similarly the decision to scrap air passenger duty for under 12's further demonstrates this point/
          • Taxing the planes directly would have reduced the number of planes flying half full which would have reduced emissions.
        • The network of charging points for electrical cars, 9000 of them, put forward under Labour were scrapped.
          • This as done fairly on in the coalition, suggesting they were all talk no action early on.
        • Airport expansion has not gone ahead suggesting the coalition are concerned about the environmental impact.
          • However, airport expansion is still being considered. It keeps being delayed and will not be addressed until after the 2015 election.
        • With the fall in oil prices the fuel price escalator was abandoned. This was designed to limit driving and raise revenue for green policies.
        • The coalition has spent £15bn on road expansion. Again not doing anything to reduce car use and emissions.
      • Energy
        • There has been a move towards wind power, which the UK is the 6th largest producer. There has been investment in off shore wind farms with investment from the Green Investment Bank.
          • However,  not building onshore wind farms is purely political to appease the NIMBYs
          • Clegg: Osborne is a 'blue roadblock to green growth'.
        • While wind has been favoured, solar has been disregarded. Payments slashed from £1100 to £630. 25p to 16p per KWh.
        • To ensure energy security, the coalition has turned to gas and oil which requires fracking - large scale damage to environment.
          • The coalition has invested in 30 new major works.
          • Cameron claimed it would be 'good for the uk' and blamed a 'lack of understandig' for opposition.
        • Kevin Anderson, deputy director of Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research: 'we are heading towards a global temperature rise of 4C to 6C century; we we want to get off this trajectory, shale gas needs to stay in the ground'.
        • Despite the threat nuclear power poses, the coalition, while not building them, they're allowing private firms to build them.
        • The coalition have been investing in CCS.
          • The first project at Longannet was scrapped in 2011 for being over budget.
          • CCS has the possibility to capture up to 90% of emissions, but CCS isn't vastly green as it detracts from the need to convert quickly to renewable energy.
            • Greenpeace: 'CCS is being used as a justification to keep building inefficient poorly constructed coal fired power stations'.
      • Background
        • In the 2010 election, the Conservative party appeared to take on a green stance, claiming 'vote blue, go green'
        • When the coalition was formed they promised to be the 'greenest government ever'.
        • There was quite a lot of 'talk'.
      • Green Investment Bank
        • It was set up in 2012 to help generate investment for renewable energy (specially offshore wind farms) from private companies.
        • The government placed £3.6bn into into.
        • One of a kind, no other country has anything similar.
        • It made a loss in it's first year of £5.7 million
        • NGOs have criticised the bank for lack ambition and funding.
          • Caroline Flint: 'Cameron's promise to run the greenest government ever is falling apart'.
            • There cross party consensus that the GIB is a good idea/

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