Foreign Policy Blogs

The United Kingdom's Changing of the Guard

I was a fan of Gordon Brown on climate change.  Among other virtues, he was outspoken about the Denialists and he picked up the ball on climate finance and ran with it after Copenhagen.  He is leaving No. 10 today and David Cameron will soon be the new Prime Minister.  See this from the AP.

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So what’s that mean for climate change and energy policy in the UK?  Thankfully, the British Conservative Party is a lot less conservative on these issues than other conservative parties in other countries, some of which I won’t name – like the Republican Party in the US.  (Oops, I did.  Sorry.)

Here is the Conservative webpage for these issues.  They seem committed to offshore power and to distributed generation.  Like Labor, though, they are also committed to time and money-wasting boondoggles like CCS and nuclear power.  The funny thing is on nuclear power, though, that they are for “Clearing the way for new nuclear power stations – provided they receive no public subsidy.”  That’s fine with me, because as Citigroup reported last November, in Britain The Economics Say No – without massive amounts of public money.  With as Homeric a public debt as Greece, the UK is not about to sink billions of pounds into the black hole of new nuclear.

Meanwhile, the Tories’ junior partner in government, the Liberal Democrats, are fully committed to a “smart decentralised grid” in a “zero-carbon Britain.”  Their webpage on Energy and Climate Change is also unequivocal about nukes:  “More nuclear power will soak up subsidy, centralise energy production and hinder development of Britain’s vast renewable resources. Nuclear has a dirty legacy and increases global security risks. We oppose construction of further nuclear power stations.”  Hear, hear.

Let’s hope the new government steers a steady course toward renewables, energy efficiency, and a “zero-carbon Britain.”

 
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  • RH

    If the only good that comes from the changing of the guard in Britain is that s British conservative can teach the US conserva-dumbs not to be bassackward about reality of mainstream science then that will be an improvement to perhaps remove an impediment in the US system of government – but somehow I think stupid is as stupid does whence it comes to the the US.

Author

Bill Hewitt
Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.



Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change

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