Jack Perschke is the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Derby South. He is a former Captain in the army and spent three years as an aid worker after leaving the army. He now advises businesses and government departments on implementing complex and high value change programmes.
I’ve written before about the distinctions between “Red Greens” and “Blue Greens”. In my view the environmental agenda has for too long been owned by big-state pseudo socialists who believe that targets, state-centric action and legally binding agreements are the answer to the myriad of environmental challenges we face in the next few years. It’s this camp that I’ve nicknamed Red-Greens.
For Red Greens the saviour is the state or, in the case of climate negotiations, it’s that unfailing deliverer of expensive inaction - the UN. It sets legally binding targets, we all dutifully strive to meet them, manfully fail in the process (or find a more immediate worry to spend our money on) and then engage in meaningless court battles to prove whose fault all this failure was as the world around us burns. In a typical bit of self-depreciating understatement Gordon Brown said that we have 50 days to save the world and, “no Plan B”. Fortunately, he’s wrong. Not only do we not need Gordon Brown to save the world, not only is it utterly beyond his ability to do so but there is also a perfectly feasible “Plan B”, it just involves no targets, not laws, no rhetoric, no complex government plans – just action. We need to stop looking around for a state-sponsored saviour and realise that the answer resides in our homes, our local businesses, our universities and our neglected industry.
Blue Greens, like their centre-right economic cousins, are suspicious of targets, central schemes and actions that run counter to the logic of human nature and the market. However, we do believe in addressing market failure, we do believe climate change to be one of those market failures and we do want to see the world address it as a matter of the highest urgency. We just don’t buy solutions that sound a lot like the sorts of measures that have, over the last 12 years, failed our schools, our hospitals, and our workless population. Making a big plan with ambitious targets that sound good, creating agencies to oversee it, throwing plenty of money into the mix, and sitting back to watch the results doesn’t work. Domestically it has resulted in waste, missed targets, crippling intra-governmental litigation and has suffocated innovation and individual action. It is the view of Blue Greens that we’ll see all of this and more if we adopt this approach to solving an international problem like carbon emissions.