Election 2017

There are many issues at stake in this election. One is UK action on climate change: an immediate threat to lives and livelihoods around the world and in the longer term, an existential threat to humanity.

What are political parties saying on climate change?

Conservative

  • Support Climate Change Act and Paris climate agreement.
  • No new large-scale onshore wind in England, support offshore wind, support wind projects 'in the remote islands of Scotland'
  • Support fracking. Allow drilling without planning permission if it doesn't fall within the narrow definition of 'fracking within the Infrastructure Act'
  • Expand Heathrow
  • Almost all cars and vans zero-emission by 2050
  • Review energy efficiency standards for new homes. Upgrade all fuel poor homes to energy efficiency Band C by 2030

Labour

  • "Put us back on track to meet the targets in the Climate Change Act and the Paris Agreement."
  • Ensure that 60% of the UK's energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources by 2030.
  • Support the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives to rival existing private energy supplier.
  • Ban fracking
  • Talks of the 'need' for additional airport capacity in the South East but promise to ensure UK’s climate change obligations [undefined] are met.
  • Insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority. Consult on modern standards for building zero carbon homes.

Lib Dem

  • Place a responsibility on every government agency to account for its contribution towards meeting climate targets in everything it does.
  • Pass five green laws: a Green Transport Act, a Zero-Carbon Britain Act, a Nature Act, a Green Buildings Act, and a Zero-Waste Act
  • Expand renewable energy, aiming to generate 60% of electricity from renewables by 2030
  • Oppose fracking
  • Opposed to airport expansion in the SE, no net increase in runways across the UK
  • Make saving energy a top infrastructure priority.  At least four million homes to be Band C by 2022. Restore zero carbon homes standard for new homes.

Green

  • Set out clearly how UK will meet domestic and international obligations and push for concerted global action to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground, all new investment in energy to be directed towards clean, renewable energy and grid improvements
  • Divest public funds from the fossil fuel industry, and ensure a just transition for those communities dependent on fossil fuel jobs.
  • Ban fracking
  • A national programme insulating nine million homes. Ensure that all new homes are built to zero-carbon standards by 2020.

Want more detail? Check out this table from Carbon Brief comparing manifesto texts on crucial issues.

Challenge your Parliamentary candidates on climate change

You can attend local hustings or meetings, and you may also have the opportunity to speak to your candidates if they phone or knock on your door.

Failing that, email them! Find your candidates' email addresses at https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/

Some questions to ask

The Committee on Climate Change says that with current policies, we will only make half the emissions cuts we need by 2030. What will your party do to get us back on track?

Recent policy changes have damaged the solar and onshore wind industries (see below). What will you do to ensure that we can benefit from these clean and increasingly cheap energy sources?

Do you support a new runway at Heathrow Airport, given that there is no evidence it can be built without overspending on the UK's carbon budgets?

Fracking at any significant scale would harm the UK's chance of keeping within its carbon budgets. Given the other environmental risks and its unpopularity, do you agree the UK should focus on renewable energy instead?

Attending hustings

Questions at hustings help set the agenda and put candidates in the spotlight in front of a crowd.

To find a hustings event in your constituency you can search the internet or on social media for <your constituency name> hustings 2017. Or ask your local branch of any political party. Here is a crowd-sourced list.

Check whether you are required to submit questions in advance.

Planning for after the election

Under the banner of the Climate Coalition, new MPs will be invited to local events during Speak Up Week, 1-9 July. You can sign up now to get involved.

 

  1. Solar job losses were found to be around 12,000 in a survey from July 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/25/solar-subsidy-cuts-lead-to-loss-of-12000-jobs

  2. Solar subsidies were cut by 65% in December 2015, following cuts of 85% and 71% respectively to larger solar installations on roofs and in solar parks. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2015/dec/17/uk-cuts-renewable-energy-make-a-mockery-of-its-pledge-paris-climate-talks

  3. A tax increase of up to 800% for solar panels on schools and businesses has just been introduced. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/solar-industry-budget-2017-800-per-cent-tax-increase-green-renewable-energy-a7618191.html

  4. In the first quarter of 2017 there was an 81 per cent decline in new solar panel capacity compared to the average over 2016.http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/sta-sounds-deployment-alarm-solar-hits-crunch-point/

  5. Since summer 2015 the government cut all subsidies for medium and large onshore wind projects and unique planning obstacles have been introduced. https://1010uk.org/blown-away-content/blown-away-policy-detail

  6. Onshore wind could soon proceed without additional subsidy for the most competitve projects – if government changed the rules, allowing it to compete for energy contracts alongside fossil fuels https://www.scottishrenewables.com/news/most-competitive-onshore-wind-projects-baringa/

  7. Following dramatic cost reductions, the solar industry says modest government support today could get solar subsidy-free by 2020 if it is not locked out of the market http://www.solar-trade.org.uk/cheapest-clean-energy-power-cut-uk-market/