What did the MPs have to say?
The Greener Britain Hustings were held last night, 23rd March 2015 in anticipation of the upcoming elections.
On the panel was:
- Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Conservative
- Rt Hon Ed Davey MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Liberal Democrat
- Rt Hon Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Labour
- Caroline Lucas MP, The Green Party
At the beginning of the hustings, the audience was asked if they were optimistic that progress would be made for the environment after the next election, 36% said yes. They were asked the same question at the end of the discussion and the result dropped to 30%.
They continued to answer the question, ” What do you believe is the most critical environmental issue that you will need to focus on if you get into power?”
Caroline Flint responded that we need to continue to make progress with the climate act, showing our influence and leadership at the Paris climate conference at the end of the year. Locally, inequality in access to the benefits of the green environment needs to be looked at, making the issues associated with the environment relevant to everyday life.
Caroline Lucas replied that the climate crisis is priority with the Paris Climate conference approaching at the end of the year. She believes that we need tougher targets on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Caroline continued that the government approach to energy needs to be more joined up. On a local level, more work is needed on biodiversity and well-being.
Lis Truss commented that it is difficult to unpick the environment as action is needed across the board. The Paris conference is important but air pollution, water quality and biodiversity at a global level need to be considered as well. We need to look at the whole planet, land and sea. Carbon emissions have reduced by 6% under this government but what is needed now is to link people in the UK with the natural environment.
Ed Davey, who helped form the Green Growth Group, explained that the Liberal Democrats manifesto will be published today (24th March), stating five green bills on how they will take action on climate change. They want a zero carbon Britain by 2050. According to Ed, the Climate Change Act of 2008 wasn’t ambitious enough. Climate change diplomacy is the most important thing so that we can tackle climate change as a world, this is the only way to face it.
Many topics were covered during the 90 minute debate including :
- how they can guarantee that the UK target of 80% reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 will be met
- the latest budget in terms of climate change and the environment
- energy prices, fuel poverty and renewables
- the EU
- airports and aviation
- the UKs wild land
- the decline in the number of species worldwide.