What's Going On Here?
Its the UK General Election next Thursday - when - if you are a registered voter - you have the power to decide who will run the UK government for the foreseeable future. With voters caring more about the environment than the economy, each party’s climate change and pollution policies are an important consideration when deciding who you will vote for...
What Does This Mean?
Brexit, the NHS, jobs and crime - these are all important factors which will inform which party or MP you vote for, but what promises have each party made regarding the environment, the climate emergency and in tackling our biodiversity crisis??
Here at Curious Earth, we’ve done the research, the leg work, the hardcore grafting... so here’s a simple breakdown of what the main parties have promised in their manifestos and other media outlets regarding four important aspects of the green battle...
1. Climate Emergency?
So we’ve declared a Climate Emergency within the UK - but when has each party pledged to move the UK towards Net Zero carbon emissions?
Conservative - 2050
Labour - 2030
Liberal Democrats - 2045
Green - 2030
The Conservatives have already pledged to go Net Zero by 2050 - and kudos to Theresa May for making this legally binding. However, other parties have since shifted this deadline forward with the need to drastically cut emissions much sooner than 2050.
2. Greening our countryside
We need to plant more trees to help with carbon sequestration and improve biodiversity. So, how many trees have each party said they’ll plant?
Conservative - 30m a year
Labour - 100m a year (rising to 2bn by 2040)
Liberal Democrats - 60m a year
Green - 70m a year
The Tories’ pledge is way behind the other parties, with Labour being particularly ambitious. However, the Lib Dems provide particularly helpful detail on how they support the improvement of water, air, and soil quality as well as biodiversity, showing true commitment to a climate-friendly countryside.
3. A Sustainable Economy
And finally, what plans do each of the main parties have for transitioning towards a green economy?
Conservative - timidly promise to continue investment in offshore wind farms. They also recently banned fracking (but pretty much temporarily…).
Labour - promises a Green Industrial Revolution - financing the transition to clean energy, transport and improved biodiversity by the creation of a £250bn Transformation Fund.
Liberal Democrats - pledge investment in renewable energy and more low-emission zones, arguing that a lot of the large-scale changes can be financed from the private sector.
Green - meanwhile go to the opposite end of the spectrum, pledging to spend £100bn in green-ifying the UK.
There’s an interesting divide between the Greens and Lib Dems on who should fund the transition - while Greens’ budget is a bit aspirational, is it similarly unrealistic for the Lib Dems to expect the private sector to finance most of the transition towards a sustainable economy? We were most disappointed with the Tories’ promises - simply market-friendly and no intent to solve the larger environmental issues at stake...