May and Gove’s Green Future
Theresa and Michael have set out their plan for a green future in a new 151-page document. It’s described as a 25-year plan, which seems a bit optimistic in view of the likely lifetime of the current Government.
No, I haven’t read it, but it has a nice picture of the Peak District on the cover and there’s also a picture of a cute red squirrel.
But notice that climate change appears almost as an afterthought, 7th on the list of goals:
Our 25-year goals
By adopting this Plan we will achieve:
1. Clean air.
2. Clean and plentiful water.
3. Thriving plants and wildlife.
4. A reduced risk of harm from environmental hazards such as flooding and drought.
5. Using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently.
6. Enhanced beauty, heritage and engagement with the natural environment.
In addition, we will manage pressures on the environment by:
7. Mitigating and adapting to climate change.
8. Minimising waste.
9. Managing exposure to chemicals.
There are six main chapters, and again, none of these focuses specifically on climate or has climate in the title.
Chapter 1: Using and managing land sustainably
Chapter 2: Recovering nature and enhancing the beauty of landscapes
Chapter 3: Connecting people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing
Chapter 4: Increasing resource efficiency and reducing pollution and waste
Chapter 5: Securing clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans
Chapter 6: Protecting and improving our global environment
Although the C-word comes up regularly in the document, it is mostly as virtue-signalling. There appears to be no new specific policy or commitment – just a reiteration of support for the Paris agreement and the 2008 Climate Change Act. I don’t think the climateers are going to like it.
Perhaps the so-called “climate concerned” have become tedious even to the politicians?
Afterall, how much doom and gloom (that never actually quite happens) can even a cynical poli take?
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In between chores this morning in the car I caught Stanley Johnson, father of Boris and a veteran green campaigner, being interviewed and responding to listeners on this new initiative on Radio 5 Live. He spoke highly and warmly of Gove and suggested that many of May’s words, spoken and written, were being penned by Michael. The presenter ribbed him a few times about the famous stabbing of his son’s ambitions to be Prime Minister in June 2016 by the now Environment Secretary. “We Johnsons know how the bury the hatchet, not between the shoulder blades but firmly in the ground.” It was highly entertaining stuff, whatever one felt about the content of the new green conservatism.
I’ve felt for a while that climate was going to be downplayed. Michael has seen what’s happened with Trump but he’s playing a longer, more subtle game in a very different political and social context in a Brexiting UK. I was well encouraged already but Paul has clearly looked at the pictures in depth and his instincts are, as always, on the money 🙂
Richard, I’m hoping that our 14 Billion readers (borrowing a phrase from Dan Kahan) will read the report and summarise the key points in comments, so that I don’t have to.
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Mam Tor – I know it well, but it didn’t used to be paved with good old gritstone roofing stones.
I wonder who (or how many people) actually wrote this 151 page document. Gove obviously doesn’t have the time. Whoever it is still uses the fake words “carbon emissions” on several occasions.
It’s a pity that “enhancing the beauty of our countryside” doesn’t include proposals to get rid of all those useless wind turbines and solar farms
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Well, the Woodland Trust like it, which is not surprising, since it contains more about woodlands and forests than it does about climate change. In particular, there’s quite a bot about the “Northern Forest” plan.
Ben Webster of The Times likes it too: “While it is true that few specific measures were announced, the government’s 25-year environment plan sets out a bold vision of a cleaner, greener Britain. It cannot be shelved because it includes a commitment to publish annual reports on progress in providing cleaner air and water, restoring wildlife and reducing waste.”
CPRE are delighted, but say the Government needs to follow up its vision with actions.
Are they planting it using bots? 🙂
Quite a bit of info here,
Total projected cost 500 million, government putting in 5.5 million starter money.
How many trees have had to be felled to produce this 151 page document? So is the new Northern Forest an act of remorse for not minimising this waste. All this to get Lucas to vote with the Tories, or is it merely make work to keep Govey busy and diverted from exercising with his little knives?
As far as green-leaning callers to Radio 5 Live this morning were concerned, it was fracking that was the make-or-break issue which meant they doubted the Tories would become truly credible to them. Father Johnson made soothing noises about Gove ensuring nasty frackers wouldn’t be allowed in places of beauty – conveniently not mentioning eyesore wind farms at this point, unlike Phillip Bratby! I think I agree that fracking is the key dividing line for the Tory administration as a whole, energy having been separated from climate change. Northern Powerhouse and Northern Forest combined? If they can pull that off, and execute Brexit successfully to boot, we might be onto something.
I can probably summarise this document: ‘We watched ‘Blue Planet 2’.
No, seriously, I’m being cynical.They may have watched some episodes of Countryfile too.
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Another Great leap Forward…sigh. Beautify the landscape, protect wildlife? Will they
be planting trees among the miles of wind turbine and solar (bird-destroying) farms
required to supply UK energy at todays levels. Matt Ridley stats for US to supply US
population with current needs, solar panels the area of Spain, or wind farms the area
of Kazakhstan. ‘The Rational Optimist.’ p 239. You get the picture. And don’t plants
require lots of CO to thrive?
I don’t think we can afford to be complacent here. Another interpretation is that govt is happy that the CCA2008 and the Paris climate treaty are definite, baked-in ‘givens’ that don’t need to be laboured.
We can’t afford to let up vocal opposition through reasoned argument until the harms that these ‘status quo’ legal instruments are wreaking on our economy are defeated.
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Very nice to see Roger here! I think the government knows that Paris is in practice torpedoed if Trump and the Republicans go through with US withdrawal. The bigger problem as I see it is the Climate Change Act. I agree that a much more pessimistic reading is possible.
As I tried to express, inadequately, above, the big step for me would be allowing and encouraging fracking in the teeth of inevitable opposition from deep greens. If no attempt is made to reduce CO2 emissions and the price of energy this way, with consequent increase of UK energy security to boot, then we’re in the pocket of the worst forms of green cronyism for the foreseeable future.
Effective Brexit is clearly the main priority for the likes of Gove and Boris. Changing the subject away from the NHS has to be a broader Tory aim. From the crooked timber of humanity nothing straight was ever made.
It seems that the BBC’s Roger Harrabin agrees with me in some respects, a rare event to celebrate. On the 10pm news last night he said
“nothing on how they will reduce C02 emissions,.. no underpinning by law, no firm policies, no money, nice pictures of bunnies, but it could be on the shelf within a year.”
As predicted, while the more sensible environmentalists like CPRE and the Woodland Trust welcome it, the climate action brigade aren’t happy.
Moonbat says it’s a plan to do nothing, and whines about climate breakdown and fracking.
The Grauniad go to Greepeace and Friends of the Earth to find someone to complain about it.
The Indy resorts to Caroline Lucas, who talks about “Blue Planet policies” (as Jaime said), also says ‘climate breakdown’, and gives it 5/10.
Will it compensate for the EU’s deforestation policy?
“A loophole in carbon-accounting rules is spurring a boom in burning wood pellets in European power plants. The result has been a surge in logging, particularly in the U.S. South, and new doubts about whether Europe can meet its commitments under the Paris accord.
In September, some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy [from forest biomass] is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon. Yet just a month later, EU ministers rubber-stamped the existing carbon accounting rules, reaffirming that the burning of wood pellets is renewable energy.”
Therefore the numbers in the spreadsheet don’t need to be changed and we are decarbonising our economy by burning carbon in the form of wood.
“Concerns over carbon emissions from burning wood”
By Roger Harrabin, BBC environment analyst
Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report.
UK taxpayers subsidise energy firms to burn wood to meet EU renewables targets. But the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests.
This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even worse.”
How about HS2?
“Right now, the biggest single threat from development to ancient woodland is the HS2 rail project. Up and down the country ancient woods and trees face the axe to make way for the high speed train line. Currently 98 ancient woods are threatened with loss or damage from both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the project.”
Thanks for all that Dennis. I was thinking of mentioning the rethink on crazy, green-in-name-only wood burning regulations in my next post. There is some low-hanging fruit for Gove in areas like this. I doubt he’s completely unaware of that.