Hope for a greener planet in General Election manifestos

THE environment seems to be taking centre stage at the forthcoming General Election, alongside Brexit, as all major parties have included in their manifestos proposals to fight climate change.

At the start of the Conservative leadership campaign, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK will meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a commitment already taken under Theresa May’s government. Following the announcement of the General Election on December 12, Mr Johnson talked about cutting co2 and tackling climate change in green technologies. However, the Conservatives are not the only ones who are considering the issue of the climate crisis.

In their manifestos, both the Labours and the Green Party want to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. Less ambitious are the Liberal Democrats that want to go carbon neutral by 2045.

Among the main points concerning the green deal, they all want to invest in renewable industries and energies and there is also a general consent concerning the plantation of trees and in the sales of diesel and/or electric cars only by 2030.

Only the Brexit Party, in regards to English parties, has not given any specific numbers or data concerning their commitment to climate change, although, alongside the other parties, they also pledged to plant more trees.

It seems then that different protests, from Greta Thunberg and her FridaysforFuture to the Extinction Rebellion, have given their results and politicians are now listening, according to Mat Hope, editor of environmental investigative journalism website DeSmog. He said: “What has happened in the past 12 months is truly amazing in terms of increased public awareness and pressure for action on climate change.

However, the doubt that this “green turn” has something to do with political strategy, rather than real concern, is there.

“I think the parties' pledges are both a political strategy and a reflection of greater awareness of the climate crisis.”

He added: “There is a lot of research that shows green policies are good for the environment but also good for the economy and society, so the parties have little to lose by making environmental pledges.”

When asked if these proposals are feasible and if these promises for the environment will be kept, Hope answered: “Boris Johnson is above all a political pragmatist. He also has a history of climate science denial. While it is not unusual for the prime minister to make large u-turns in the current political climate, his environmental pledges will be viewed with suspicion due to his past failures to deliver on his promises.

“The other parties have a stronger record on climate action, but little recent experience of government, so it will be interesting to see if environmental policies remain a priority should they be elected.”

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