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The Low Carbon Economy Ltd

20 Apr 2010 05:04:08

Green Manifestos: What divides the parties?

Green Manifestos: What divides the parties?
In recent years the term green has to come refer to much more than the colour, and nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the current election campaigns.

Every party, whether they brand themselves as red, blue or yellow, is talking about green jobs, green transport, green buildings and Britain's low carbon future.

But while they are involved in a game of one-upmanship as to who will create the most sustainable future for the UK, few are considering if people will chose to vote based on green issues.

And, much like the debate about all parties moving to the centre ground, is there much difference between the organisations' various policies?

Unlike five years ago when the key issue was the Iraq war, something which still divides the country, there are few who are not now convinced that a more sustainable future must be on the cards.

In a rare moment of agreement, all parties are pledging to decrease carbon emissions and increase the proportion of renewable energy sources supplying the UK.

A Labour or a Liberal Democrat government would be looking to have around 40 percent of electricity from low or zero carbon sources by 2020. The Conservatives have much more short-term plans and are promising to cut central government emissions by ten per cent in the next 12 months.

All parties are also pledging to provide money for energy-efficient home improvements.

Labour have their pay-as-you-save scheme, the Conservatives have their Green Deal, which will provide £6,500 for home improvements, and the Lib Dems have an eco-cashback programme, which will offer £400 towards retrofits.

Significant other policies include the introduction of a bus scrappage by the Lib Dems, an energy supply guarantee from the Tories and Labour's attempts to move to a zero waste Britain.

The only major issue where the parties differ is the building of new nuclear power stations, with the Conservatives and Labour both saying they would support nuclear power and the Lib Dems opposing it.

However, what all manifestos have been unable to do is convince people how these green issues relate to their everyday lives.

Voters have not been told how these environmentally-friendly changes will affect issues like education, health, fuel poverty and wealth. This serves to place green issues at the back of people's minds when they head to the polls, as they don't feel the personal connection needed to be passionate about a subject.

Arguably there are few issues in their green policies which would divide anyone anyway and this raises the question, will anyone decide their vote on green issues at all?ADNFCR-1235-ID-19731852-ADNFCR

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