From green budgets to clean energy promises, each week we’re publishing the top climate stories you need to know about ahead of the UK general election. A majority of people in the UK say the climate crisis will influence how they vote next month, with younger voters feeling particularly strongly about the issue, according to a ground-breaking opinion poll from ClientEarth, supported by Greenhouse. This week, we’re featuring the key environmental policies following the manifesto launches.
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Green Party manifesto, launched Tuesday (read more: Guardian)
- Net-zero by 2030: Would spend £1tn over ten years, upgrading infrastructure, retrofitting and insulating the UK’s housing stock, and expanding public transport.
- Renewable energy: New support for solar, geothermal, tidal, hydro and other renewable energy sources, and scrapping of subsidies for fossil fuels.
- Improving public transport: HS2 would be scrapped, with the money spent on electrifying all intercity railways, building new routes and creating a government-owned electric train stock.
- Funding agriculture: Plant 700m new trees, more than 10 times the number of other parties, restoring hedgerows and designating dedicated rewilding areas; meanwhile a 5% tax on meat and dairy products would go towards helping farmers adopt low-carbon methods.
Liberal Democrats manifesto, launched Wednesday (read more: Independent)
- Net-zero by 2045: Plans to insulate all UK homes by 2030, plant 60 million trees a year and ban non-recyclable single-use plastics.
- Energy pledges: 80% of electricity would come from renewable sources by 2030, and fracking would be banned.
- Investment in public transport: £20bn would be spent on electrifying train lines and restoring bus routes; rail fares for commuters and season ticket holders would also be frozen for five years.
Labour Party manifesto, launched Thursday (read more: Guardian)
- Net-zero by 2030s: Dropped a policy previously agreed at Labour Conference to reach net-zero by 2030; concerns from unions such as GMB have resulted in a softer target.
- 1 million green jobs: These are due to come from the Green Industrial Revolution, focussing on hydrogen and tidal energy expansion, port infrastructure, tree planting, flood defences and plastic recycling; this goes alongside 800,000 climate apprenticeships in green industries.
- Green Transformation Fund: £250bn over ten years will be spent on renewable and low-carbon energy and transport e.g electric cars, biodiversity, and environmental restoration.
- New environmental regulators: A Labour government would introduce a Climate and Environment Emergency Bill to help restore the environment and natural habitats, and a National Energy Agency would maintain national grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of decarbonisation targets.
Conservative Party manifesto, launched Sunday (read more: Politico)
- Net-zero by 2050: Alongside £800 million to be spent on carbon capture storage programmes, it plans to form an Office for Environmental Protection to regulate its progress towards net-zero, with new targets for air quality and tree planting.
- Energy efficiency: Pledged £6.3bn on energy efficiency measures to help cut fuel bills, keep the current energy price cap, and maintain its newly-introduced fracking ban.
- Cut out plastic waste: A £500 million Blue Planet Fund would help protect oceans from plastic pollution, and there would be a ban on the export of plastic waste outside the OECD.
Coming up this week
- Election debates: This week will see at least two election debates, on Tuesday between the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems on Sky, and on Friday between the top seven parties on BBC. The Channel 4 climate change debate, with or without a Conservative representative, may also take place this week.
- Voter registration closes – The It’s Our Time campaign has hit the headlines this weekend, calling on young people to register for climate change (read more: iNews).
While more climate related news is breaking each week in the lead up to the election, voter registration closes tomorrow, Tuesday 26th November at 11pm. Make sure to register for vote if you haven’t already.
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