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Cameron would be well advised to reject the whole report. If he dosen't do so, he will be shooting the Party in the foot yet again. I despair!

Is it only me who thinks it slightly ironic that as it has no exec summary I may have the print the thing - and at over 500 pages that is hardly environmentally friendly. Lets hope a summary emerges tomorrow!

So more Tory suicidal idiocy then? Why are the Tories concentrating on the flaky soft-centre-left when they are haemoraging their base?

Tim, I find that a very narrow and short sighted view which seems to assume that both our economy, mode of transport and our lifestyle choices will only need to be guided by tokenism.
Seen the price of oil today, or noticed that if we have a cold winter we are in trouble with a very real threat that oil and gas supplies might not match demand? I think that not only from an environmental point of view, but also from an economic and Foreign policy base, we better start changing our habits and finding some realistic alternatives fast.

Is it published on recycled paper?

Very quick one worded opinion based on what I've seen and heard so far, and that is loony. Too much regulation and hairshirts from what I can see.

A guy from Friends of the Earth on Newsnight warmly welcomed the report - but I have no idea if that's a good thing or a bad thing!

Certainly, Newsnight presenting the report with Goldsmith and Gummer's faces as flowerheads and hippie-style colours whilst highlighting many controversial tax hikes will appall most traditional Tory's and Mondeo Man alike.

Although I'm a Cameroon, this report is a bit too much even for me to take. I'm sure there's some good ideas to adopt here, but Mr Cameron should reject a great heap of it out-of-hand publicly - and quickly.

But Scotty is it the job of the state to bludgeon a change in behaviour? Or are most people intelligent to cut back when the prices rises, as they have always done? Nice to see you buy into to all the doomongers rants. The world is not running out of oil and there are perfectly good energy alternatives in the form of nuclear technology.

Goldsmith is just another old-Etonian snob and Gummer is a pro-European Prat. So we have VAT on domestic flights- so if you live in the Hebredies (my family's from Islay), Orkney and Shetland or even Northern Ireland you will have to pay VAT. Alex Salmond's solution- give us independence so these flights will be domestic Scottish not British.
We should be encouraging firms like Easy Jet and Ryanair- they have liberated hundreds of thousands of people from high priced monoplies such as BA- or is it that Goldsmith finds the thought of ordinary middle class people to be travelling abroad objection1able.

We are not a Green Party- we are a Liberal Capitalist Party.

Suddenly UKIP has attractions and I live in a Target seat.

I am seriously alarmed at how Metrocentric Cameron has becone. Now had our leader been say from the East Riding of Yorskhire, I am sure things would be so much better!

Agree with Edison 23.21. But interesting to see Newsnight's favourite commenters now are two disaffected Tories ....Patrick Mercer and Tim Montgomerie....vanity o vanity!

OMG....political suicide is all i can say,what happened to free enterprise and getting rid of the nanny state,this all sounds like a new form of socialism which i don't want to be a part of thank you.
Good bye mr cameron you have just lost my vote.may our once great party now rest in peace.

Ian McKellar - calm down!

I'm no fan of this report either but I'd be very surprised if Cameron and the round table actually adopt much of it for a manifesto.

They may go for raising VAT on flights but at the same time they'd have to promise something concrete in return. What exactly, I have no idea.

The moratorium on airport expansion and this guff about home improvements will hopefully be kicked into the long grass.

Though sometimes unwise counsel does prevail...

any householder wanting to improve their homes via, for example, a loft conversion or adding a conservatory will be required to make "cost-effective energy efficient improvements to the existing structure".

Utterly ridiculous, and at a time when (I judge) there are more such improvements than ever before due to Stamp Duty and the
other huge costs involved in moving house.

When we last moved three years ago I said to my wife 'Do you know, stamp duty, solicitors' and agent's fees and removal costs are more than we paid for our first house when we got married'

Somebody seems to have a political death wish.

I happen to know that this report has been written by some very very intelligent and experienced people alongside and at the instigation of Gummer and Goldsmith. I would wait to read it and make a judgment in several days or weeks time.

Change is not only necessary but could boost Britain's competitive position if handled in the right way.

I am afraid that new nuclear is a first step though.

The way these reports are presented means that the most silliest of proposals enter the public domain and will not be forgotten even if not adopted.

All those lost aspirational Tories who won't be coming home
because you wish to stop them buying nice cars,going on holiday and now improving their homes whilst not reducing their taxes.

The spirit of Marie Antoinette is alive and top tabling in the Tory party---not nasty but not nice.

Gerald Kaufman described the 1983 Labour manifesto as the longest suicide note in history.

This would appear to be longer.

Conservatives will not gain power in the next million years. This reports shows why.

A reminder to all - None of this is party policy.

It is an investigative report to harvest ideas that may or may not be slotted into a manifesto.

Needless to say, such expansive reports will throw up more chaff than wheat.

The real crunch will be when the manifesto is put together... Whoever does it (I presume Osborne, Hague & Cameron?) will need to be very sensible about what to include and what not, but also have an eye for what might catch on in the future, but which at the moment is outside-the-box thinking and a little ahead of its time.

Whilst I don't think taxing shuttle flights is a good idea etc. etc., this shouldn't completely cloud over a report, which may have some aspects we don't like, but lets have a debate around what is an important theme rather than closing it all down because of one or two aspects that are not so politically expedient. Quality of life is a good subject to debate, so lets not rubbish it and move on.

We need a sense of perspective when considering Global Warming. If emissions of Greenhouse gases are to be restricted to meet the levels advocated by Environmental Spokesmen, then there are going to be some pretty severe changes to all our lifestyles. They will not be achieved by minor economies, banning the standby button, and turning off unnecessary lights. At a personal level, travel will need to be significantly restricted, either by rationing or pricing, limits in the choice of food, air travel reduced to essential journeys and home heating levels kept down to an uncomfortable level. Such measures MUST inevitably result in a significant reduction in overall GDP, reducing our standard of livuing and our help to the developing world.

Before committing to such a drastic reduction in the world’s standards of living we should be pretty certain that it is necessary and that the advocated reduction in these emissions will indeed halt global warming. Undoubtedly the world’s climate has been in a warming period over the last few decades, but this is still minimal compared to the changes experienced over the last 20,000 years. In that period, the last ice age gave way to the present temperate climes in the UK. Even in more recent timescales, there have been very noticeable changes in our climate. Around 800AD the climate was some 2deg warmer than now, - the very name Greenland resulted from the conditions experienced by early travelers. In medieval times a ‘Mini-ice Age’ set in rapidly, bringing very severe winters to the UK as the famed Ice Fairs on the Thames illustrate.

Scientific opinion is not nearly as unanimous as it is usually portrayed. There are many differing views. The computer simulations used are still very limited in resolution and observed climatic measurements yield conflicting results. None of the can be considered PROVEN. Very little ‘mainstream’ attention has been paid to the linkage between Earth’s climate, the variations in the Sun’s output, and subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit. Changes over 100s of thousands of years suggest that these could be very significant and probably dwarf any effect that mankind could achieve.

Before sacrificing our hard-won standards of living, (probably unilaterally as a country) we should have far better real evidence than exists at present.

"While "cost-effective energy efficient improvements" may pay for themselves in the long-run the requirement for whole-house energy-efficient measures will discourage many people on tighter incomes from improving their homes."

If people can't afford a bit of loft insulation, are they really in a position to be forking out to tart up their homes anyway?

Argument-wise, this is a bit like Wayne and Stacey Chav pleading poverty because their handouts from the taxpayer won't stretch to a new pair of the latest brand-name trainers and Burberry baseball caps for their many offspring and now they can only afford three takeaway meals a week to eat in front of their 42-inch flat-screen television (with full Sky subscription, natch)...

As Edison says none of this is yet party policy, but we are creating an impression that these are the kind of things we would do if we get elected - your holiday will be more expensive under us, we will further tax your family car, we will ban your plazma tv, we will charge you for parking at a supermarket, etc.

We need a better way to get these policy reports out. Are there many left?

2009 is still favourite for the year of the general election - what are we going to fill the next two years with?

I am being more supportive of this than most of you and I am an out-of-the-closet Kipper. Have just been flipping through it and checking out the full list of 500 contributors. It seems outstanding.

Any Tory who slags it off in the next 24 hours without engaging brain is not helping their party or the country imho. Get reading, and thinking! See you in 547 pages.

"The world is not running out of oil and there are perfectly good energy alternatives in the form of nuclear technology."
I stand by my comment that " if we have a cold winter we are in trouble with a very real threat that oil and gas supplies might not match demand?"

Last winter, there was nobody more relieved than this government because the warm and wet weather saved their bacon. We really would have been in trouble had we suffered a prolonged cold snap. Why? Because we did not have enough oil and gas supplies to meet that kind of demand that weather would have generated in Britain!

As for Nuclear power, with our ageing nuclear power stations, just what stage are we at in the development of a future generation of nuclear power? We are not moving fast enough in that department either, remember this is a hot topic for Labour, so don't expect them to move fast enough or in a competent way by leaving us with a healthy power supply from that direction.

My grandmother, a very wise woman who lived to nigh on 97, always used to say things like "he is too clever to have any common sense" or, " you are so sharp, you'll cut yourself!"
Time for the Tories to go hunting for some more Victorian values methinks.
These very very clever folk that appear to have very little common sense when it comes to making policy should take heed. DC may not take any of it on board,(hopefully,) but the perception will linger on in the mind of the average voter that we would dearly like to attract. They are likely to listen to the report on the box, and say "not on your Nelly, Mate!" and place their vote elsewhere.

If Cameron accepts these ridciulous ideas, he will lose. Simple as. This is an opportunity to show he wants to help ordinay people by rejecting anti-working class and anti-middle class proposals. He can either make it an opportunity or simply help Labour by showing he's out of touch and has a serious problem with people who have less money than he does.

If he chooses the latter we will not forgive nor foget this once Cameron has led us to defeat.

Energy-efficient solutions require greater amounts of resources to produce.

How many of the doom and gloom merchants on here - "Oh my God, this report is a disaster" - are Labour trolls? Many of them have names and nicknames never before seen.

Beware Brownite astroturfers seeking to build a media story - "Tory grassroots slam Cameron green agenda"

The report is a serious and heavyweight contribution that deserves to be read, not condemned. I particularly like the reference to direct democracy and empowerment.

I am delighted that David Cameron has moved quickly to distance the Party from some of Gummer's dafter ideas, like taxing supermarket parking. The whole Gummer/Goldsmith package is a frontal assault on Conservative values. More taxes, more fiddly tax allowances, more regulation, more quangoes. I became a Conservative because I believe in low taxes; simple taxes; less regulation; fewer quangoes; less Nanny-Statism.

If we're worried about CO2 (personally, I'm not), then we should start by building more nuclear generating capacity, not by punishing motorists, shoppers and holidaymakers.

Personally I would be all for ending cheap flights and converting one of our major airports back to countryside, taxing most private cars off the roads (not mine - I need it for work) and announcing a programme of Chinese-style methods to halve the population over the next century.

The slight problem is that no party espousing such policies would ever be in a position to implement them.

Obviously such a niggling detail does't trouble the authors of this report.

A reminder to all - None of this is party policy.

Try telling that to the press.

More of the same idiotic rubbish. Great stuff Dave you have succeeded in making the party more unelectable than ever get your backsides out in the country instead of listening to a multi millionaire that is using the party for his own green issues.

The report is 547 pages long and has no executive summary yet.

Yet it's amazing how many people were willing to completely condemn it within hours when there was very clearly not enough time to have actually read it.

Personally, I'm going to read the report first, then think about it, then consult on it in my constituency, and then come to a judgement.

Unlike those writing comments on this site who appear to have decided - before reading it - to damn it.

John Selwyn Gummer is on TV at the moment making the case for hitting 'gas-guzzlers' with extra tax. It's also in the middle of the front page of the Telegraph.

I suppose this means the revolting Chelsea tractors and their ilk. I have some sympathy with that, but then my brand of Conservatism is of the 'Disraelian Tory' rather than the 'Libertarian' variety.

However I see this suggestion as likely to lose far more votes than it gains.

Philosophically, the party seems to be in a state of total disarroy.

Can someone please explain to me how publicising a lot of possible policies which can be picked through to select some bad headlines in the Mail and Telegraph etc, actually helps us win an election?

It is like watching all the car crashes in the UK from the sky knowing that they are inevitable and wondering what twit thought this is the best way to win elections.

From experience methinks the requirement to make energy efficiency improvements when building an extension or similar is already law.

Recommending a policy which I think is already legislated for seems odd.

Firstly I thought this site was now being moderated. If it is why are people being allowed to call fellow Conservatives snobs and prats just because they don`t like what there hearing.
We have a good message to sell here that will attract the young particularly and make us look like a party of the future not of the past.
We also must empathis that we are not talking about tax rises. We are talking about putting some taxes up to reduce pollution and harm to the planet and use revenue obtained from that to reduce other taxes. Unlike Labour who would put up green taxes and just use the money to increase government spending.
In the eighties we looked like the party of business, controlled by business, that would always put business before environment by allowing giant supermarkets to be built all over the place, allow builders to build on our green fields etc. We had a reputation like it or not of putting money before people.
This report should be used as a new start for the party to show that we put the country and people before vested business interest.

Why does Cameron devote so much time to reports that fall within EU competence ? He cannot tax air-travel or start imposing restrictions on houses etc without considering the EU component....HIPs are an EU innovation and apply to rental properties every 3 years.....he cannot simply float crackpot ideas that have not emanated from the EU unless of course he intends to bounce the EU Commission into implementing such ideas

First find two flat earthers.

Give them the opportunity to write a report making the party look foolish.

Tell the press this is for consultation not implementation.

Then say this is leadership!



How to lose a general election by Zac Goldsmith:-

"There are a number of taxes on cars and aeroplanes as expected. So far I have discovered one very controversial new policy that hasn't been flagged yet...any householder wanting to improve their homes via, for example, a loft conversion ... will be required to make "cost-effective energy efficient improvements to the existing structure". This proposal could have major implications for homeowners' ability to afford home improvements"

I have thought Camerons leadership of the Conservative party overall has been good. If Cameron wants to keep up the good work he would quickly reject these ideas. Has he learnt nothing from the opposition of HIP's?

Anyone who knows how aviation works will laugh at this report. Discouraging domestic and short haul flights will simply shift slot use to higher-emission long haul services.

The report also heavily favours stats and claims produced by pressure groups rather than sticking to official data. And it ducks the embarrassing question of how high a tax would would have to be in order to affect environmental performance. Evidence in the real world suggests that it would have to be pitched at something like 150% on fuel to make much of a difference...

Is there anyone here who thinks that it was a good idea to have Zac Goldsmith, someone who voted Green last election, coming up with policy for the Conservative Party?

Thank god Andy Coulson stepped in and made sure that we emphasised the right points in the media, otherwise this report would have been a catastrophe.


I disagree Charles Miller.

For a start, an air passenger mile in any aircraft is almost as high a CO2 emission as a car passenger mile. Short haul flights (sub 500 miles) in almost all cases are no quicker than a train journey over the same distance. Yet one train passenger mile produces 1/4 the CO2 of car or 1/3 that air travel.

As for slot use, it is a closed market, oligarcic in nature. It is not uncommon for airline companies to run a plane completely empty of passengers and cargo to retain the slot. Major research work has shown that a open auction of underutilised slots would free as much as 20% of capacity onto routes in high demand, stimulate more competition to reduce the cost of flying and serve more passengers for little to no extra increase in aircraft movements.

Airports as public goods are not serving the demands of passengers but profit-maximisation of the companies running them thanks to unreformed practices.

The current aviation industry is an anti-conservative as it could be, how can the Conservative party back an industry that is monopolistic in the South East and it is tacitly subsided by a lack of fuel duty and VAT exemption?

The BBC asking David Wilshire to comment is deeply disingenuous and hypocritical to their position on climate change. There are are far more Conservative MPs in the locality of these airport deeply opposed to further expansion and cross party support with their opposition MPs in that locality.

If the Conservatives stood up and said that national flights are to be taxed and the monies used for new high-speed rail liking the large metropolitan areas of the country. I would wager that the economic benefits would be far more pronounced that aviation expansion, it would take huge amounts of freight and passenger not only off flights but off our roads as well.

I was due to go leaflet delivering this week for the local Conservative candidate. Now I am not going as a protest against the d'heads who are running the Party at the moment. Along with gassing badgers and closing public lavatories there cannot be anything more electorally suicidal than suggesting a parking charge at supermarkets.

My thoughts about this are on my blog, but mainly i just hope a few people actually get around to reading it.

It may actually make more sense that the media are letting on.

Gummer and Goldsmith trying to stop the plebs flying, driving or shopping conveniently is not a pretty sight. How much more must we suffer this nonsense?

Mike Thomas (215cu) | September 13, 09:36
".. new high-speed rail liking the large metropolitan areas of the country. ...the economic benefits would be far more pronounced than aviation expansion .."

I am fully in favour of new high speed rail lines. Unfortunately, the way these things are costed nowadays, the recovery of interest on capital would put so much on the price of a ticket that it becomes unviable. The construction cost needs to be regarded as straightforward, old-fashioned public expenditure in the national interest, in the same way as one doesn't expect, say, defence to produce any sort of directly costable return on investment.

If a new north~south spine line cost £100Bn, that would average £10 Bn pa over 10 year construction time. Maybe not chickenfeed but certainly not an unconscionable proportion of national expenditure. Shut down a few quangos and there's a reasonable contribution to the project already!

Aside from ongoing national economic benefits, it would be a tangible political demonstration of interest in the country as a whole, rather than just the south-east.

Extension of line northwards beyond the Newcastle-on-Tyne area would be for the devolved/federal/independent* Scottish Government to finance.

*Delete as inapplicable ;-)

We love you guys!


And there I was yesterday afternoon thinking, a new outbreak of foot and mouth might give Conservative spokesmen a real chance to hammer the government/Brown /Defra’s incompetence and at the same time improve our stock in rural communities. Turn the focus on Labour’s underinvestment at Pirbright, perhaps pressurising the Chief Veterinary Officer into premature relaxation of precautionary measures. In stead we have an outbreak of foot in mouth from our own eco warrior John Selwyn- Gummer and his fellow soldier Zac Goldsmith.
Now remind me please, is that the same Mr Gummer who was so good as party chairman that Mrs T decided to move him and chose the backwater of Agriculture thinking he couldn’t do any harm there? Could he be the same chap who presented his kids on TV eating burgers at the height of the BSE crisis ( I believe one is now a PPC)which from memory cost the taxpayer £4 Billion?
So now he wants to tax supermarket car parks, fleece the wealthy 4 x 4 drivers in their Chelsea tractors, and make home-improvements thrice as expensive, and for good measure tax air travel out of reach for all but the Goldsmiths.
Hmm yes sounds like the same Mr Gummer I met in the 80’s alright no wonder Maggie moved him on before he cost us an election. Now there is a suggestion Mr Cameron.

Yet again, a policy group has thrown David Cameron off course with a mix of good and bad proposals that do nothing other than reinforce how shaky the Conservative Party appear in the media.

Why couldn't they have done the picking and choosing behind close doors and keep the duff proposals away from the media spotlight? Right idea, poor execution - same old story.

The people rushing to condemn the whole report, on the basis of quoting a few recommendations that they don't like (probably out of context), should sit down and read it. You have to remember that some of the people condemning it don't accept that there is a problem with carbon emissions, so of course they are going to be against any measures that are difficult choices.

May I suggest that the Editor announces that he is going to start a thread at, say, 7am next Tuesday morning and that all participants on that thread must certify that they have actually read the report? Then we might get a sensible and well informed debate and those who have views will not feel they have to shoot from the hip in the meantime if they are to have any chance of influencing the debate.

Three points on the immediate presentation:
(1) It was heartening that the BBC on the radio this morning, and on TV last night, prefaced everything by saying this was a report TO the party leadership not BY it. I presume this was the result of some good press work by the party's team so that the media/BBC did not make the same mistake/misrepresentation that they made on some of the earlier reports by not making that clear.
(2) When Cameron accepts some recommendations and rejects quite a lot of others, it will be seen as a sensible compromise (provided he rejects and accepts the right points!). The vast majority who accept that there is a human-influenced global warming problem will then see that we have thought through the options and come up with a middle way. It's actually not necessarily unhelpful for there to be some measures in there that are too extreme to adopt.
(3) Tim is becoming a bit of an anti-leadership rentaquote. Was it really worth it for one sentence on Newsnight?

As for the struggling middle classes, it depends who you mean. So far as I can see this report will not add materially to the costs of private education or health insurance and will not be targeting one-car families with cars of a modest size. If there are incentives to make our homes more energy efficient, we will welcome the spur to do it. Laying myself open to accusations of sweeping generalisations, most of the people (certainly families with children) taking three or four holidays by air a year, going long haul routinely for leisure, or even taking frequent domestic flights, are either so well off that we need not grieve for them or, more likely, only have that sort of disposable income for these frivolities because they don't pay for private education or, at a more modest level, put an extra week of winter sun above, say, putting some money aside for theatre tickets, going out for nice family meal occasionally, visiting their relatives in other parts of England and/or seeing the English countryside, or saving for when their children go to University - most of these other activities, by the way, being more highly taxed than air travel.

"Is there anyone here who thinks that it was a good idea to have Zac Goldsmith, someone who voted Green last election, coming up with policy for the Conservative Party?"

yes I do, because we are a conservative party

"Is there anyone here who thinks that it was a good idea to have Zac Goldsmith, someone who voted Green last election, coming up with policy for the Conservative Party?"

No. He's a liabilty, he's confused, he comes across as very nervous on tv and he has contempt for sensible ideas like Redwoods report which he didn't even finish reading. We don't want him in our party.

Unfortunately the boy Goldsmith feels he has an entitlement to be Richmond Park's MP, presumably because Daddy told him he would be MP. As a Richmond resident I would hazard that Zac put in this rubbish about the airports purely out of selfish motives (does he have any other?) - Richmond does get very noisy indeed from 5.30am onwards if you live a fraction north of the hill.

Certainly as a Conservative supporter of many years' standing and a lifelong contributor to the party I have no intention of voting Conservative at the next election if Zac Goldsmith stands in Richmond Park. Regrettably I might well have to vote for our current Libdem MP Susan Kramer.

Julian, have you seen the lib dem climate policy?

Zero carbon by 2050 is the aim!

You could always vote labour, they are pretty crap on the environment.

Yawn to this subject. Please be at least a little honest about the taxes being proposed. Flight taxes are only applicable to England, as Zac Smith has said that Scotland will be exempt; yet the so-called pollution taxes raised in England will be used to cut taxes in - you guessed it - Scotland!!!
Cameron is as bad as Brown when it comes to pereferential treatment for the Scots, isn't he?
England's MPs should be ashamed of themselves for not having the backbone to defend their constituents against this blatant discriminaton.

Whoever wrote this should get a raise, because I'm shocked that a government info blog understands how to write a blog post instead of just listing facts. It was fun to read and I hope I never feel the need to environment . Good tips, will forward to family and friends.

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