Why I, a climate change sceptic, support Greg Clark's 'positive environmentalism'
I regard myself as a climate change realist. I'm unconvinced by the evidence for man-made global warming and my suspicions have only grown this week following the attempts by East Anglian scientists to suppress dissent. I describe myself as a realist because I don't think politicians have the will to combat climate change even if combating it was possible. Just think about Kyoto. Kyoto was only 1/40th of what was necessary to combat climate change and many western countries still failed to meet their targets. Insofar as some succeeded in meeting their targets they often did so by exporting industrial capacity to other parts of the world. They failed to meet promises to fund developing nations as those nations adjusted to climate change.
In a world where political energy is as finite as some fuel supplies I'd rather our political leaders spent their time on lifting trade barriers, tackling malaria and guaranteeing clean water to poor nations. In that regard I'm what might be called 'a Lomborgite'. If the climate is changing our best hope is that the developing world gets a lot richer and can afford to mitigate the consequences.
What annoys me about some climate change sceptics, however, is that they are unwilling to consider measures that are advanced by politicians that would cut emissions but are also entirely justifiable on other grounds. The best recent example was the Tory pledge to reduce household energy bills with an innovative scheme to improve home insulation. It was a win, win, win policy. It cut bills. It created jobs. And, yes, it reduced carbon emissions. Some commenters below this thread weren't even willing to consider the virtues of the policy because it had a climate change label. That's not sensible.
Since Greg Clark MP became Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change he has been careful to develop policies that are justifiable on other grounds than climate change alone. (1) Combating general forms of pollution, (2) cutting energy bills, (3) reducing dependence on energy imports from rogue regimes and (4) increasing the diversity of our overall energy supply all feature in Greg Clark's environmentalism. Let's try and have a more mature discussion about the environment and energy and not close our brains whenever the two words 'climate change' are mentioned. I'll support any 'green measure' that makes significant contributions to those other four policy goals.
Greg Clark MP, has just written an article for ConservativeHome reviewing this week's big push by seven shadow cabinet ministers on the environment. Greg writes about the Conservative Party's "positive environmentalism" and concludes:
"If our homes are more energy efficient they can be warmer, cheaper and less damaging to the environment. If we can be whisked from the centre of London to the centre of Manchester by high speed electric train, why would we want to fly? ...If we can act quickly to secure in a leading role for Britain in the low carbon economy towards which the world is converting, it can be a motor of job creation."
Read his full piece.