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Editorial: Our view on the UK General Election – Labour is best placed to tackle the climate crisis and unleash a golden area of innovation and clean energy opportunities

Editorial: Our view on the UK General Election – Labour is best placed to tackle the climate crisis and unleash a golden area of innovation and clean energy opportunities

Polls suggest that the Labour Leader, Keir Starmer will be the next Prime Minister of the UK. Photo credit: Rwendland – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia.


Today (4th of July) the British public heads to the polls to decide who will govern the country that has been through several political earthquakes for the past decade, for the next five years.

The Conservatives have governed the UK for the past 14 years as Labour was unseated after having won three successive elections, in the culmination of the global financial crisis. 

Throughout the past 14 years of Conservative rule, the country has had five prime ministers including the current Rishi Sunak, and three of those have had to resign before the time due to scandals or severe unpopularity in a party at war with itself. The shortest serving was Liz Truss who lasted for just two months.

In the past 14 years much has happened in the space of climate change as well as the advancement of clean energy, but it has also become clear how hard it is to say goodbye to fossil fuels. These are symbolic and cultural attachments as much as it is the challenge of putting a proper energy transition in place.

It has become clear if just the will is there how much is possible to achieve. It is significant that the UK have almost completely eradicated coal from electricity generation in a country that is seen as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and the fact that the country has established itself as the world leader in offshore wind installation gives an indication what is possible. The government deserves praise for having underseen this transition and maintaining strong market fundamentals to make this happen and back the once ludicrous expensive energy source that is now rapidly coming down in price.

Cut the green crap

But support for other energy sources and technologies as well as broader decarbonisation strategies have been less impressive. When Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to cut the green crap, banning onshore wind turbines, the complete mismanagement of solar PV installations through the feed-in-tariff, failed to incentivise uptake in heat pumps and other energy efficiency tools as they slashed subsidies, and the dithering on fracking, the party at best positioned itself as not understanding the economic value in the green economy and at worst as being anti-climate action, green technology and energy transition. 

Allowing the climate-sceptic members of the party to influence policy such as the climate denier Owen Patterson who served as environment minister, made a mockery of action on climate change and posed the question of whether the government actually understood it.

Labour is not perfect at all, and it is disappointing to have seen them down-prioritise climate action. However, their visionary manifesto which includes making the UK a green energy superpower shows some level of the vision required, and this is why this news organisation have come to the view that a new government led by the Labour Leader is the best scenario. It is entirely possible to hold that view while acknowledging that much more needs to be done, but it would be premature to make a judgement before the final energy and climate strategy is unveiled, other than the snapshot a party manifesto provides.

But rhetoric is important and comparing the two-party manifestos it is clear that the Conservatives at present views net-zero as a burden on the economy and society, while Labour believe the opposite; labelling it as a business opportunity and a huge job creation machine. Having the latter view, we believe is the right mentality needed to unleash these opportunities that tackling climate change will provide. 

The Green Party and the Lib Dems play an important role in pushing the next government to raise the ambition in tackling climate change. But if you were to do so, do it wisely and not in seats where Labour or Conservative are the only likely winners.

We will follow up with an analysis of the next government once it is clear what they will do on climate and energy.

Happy voting!

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