It has been an exciting past few weeks in politics but slowly and steadily the new Lib-Con coalition is finding its feet. So where does all this seat shuffling leave the future of conservation and our environment?
Well, Lib-Dem Chris Huhne and Tory MP Caroline Spelman have been appointed Energy and Environment Secretaries. Under the Lib-Dems will sit Charles Hendry and Gregory Barker as the new Energy and Climate Change Ministers, while under the Tory Secretary of State, James Paice has been awarded the ministerial portfolio for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
The prospect of the Lib-Dems and the ‘Go Green, Vote Blue’ Tories might seem a hopeful combination. But how optimistic can we be?
A new programme of measures designed to accelerate the UK towards a low-carbon and environmentally friendly economy has already been planned. Read the details on BBC website. Of particular significance are two pledges, one for feed-in tariff systems in electricity and another to create a green investment bank.
Feed-in tariff systems are where people are paid per unit of renewable energy they produce. This will boost renewable energy, ranging from wind farms to roof-top solar thermal heaters, and give us more incentives to set up renewable energy systems in our homes. The problem here is that it is a very complicated and long winded (excuse the pun) system and may cost more than it’s worth. Read the debate on the Guardian between George Monbiot and Alan Simpson.
The 2bn green investment bank, which also promises to make thousands of new jobs, is an exciting prospect for us and Earth. However, the project is not quite as simple as it may sound. Chris Huhne questions, ‘Almost everyone agrees with some kind of low-carbon infrastructure bank in principle, but it will have to be pretty sizeable to make a substantive difference. Where will the money come from?.” Industry experts predict £37.5bn is needed each year to upgrade our creaking energy system. It will take years before the fund is able to make a meaningful difference, which doesn’t quite fit with the urgency of the task at hand. You can read more about this in the Times.
So what do you think about the new Lib-Con policies? Will the Lib-Con coalition prove a success to sustainability in the UK or will endless paper work and expenses get in the way of really making a difference?