A week’s a long time in (climate) politics pt2
Last week, watching him deputise for the PM at Prime Minister’s Questions, I was pleasantly surprised by Chancellor George Osborne making some quite strong pledges to tackle climate change, albeit with the caveat “at the lowest possible cost.” Osborne has long said to be a ‘luke-warmer’ – someone who accepts the basic science of climate change but believes the risks are over-stated (see Matthew D’Ancona’s excellent ‘All In It Together’ for more) – so this appeared on the face of it to be a positive move.
But this week’s summer budget was a major let down. Although the media has focussed on Osborne’s efforts to shift the working poor from welfare to higher salaries, there was a lot of bad news hidden in the details for the emerging green economy. You can see a good, if depressing, summary at Carbon Brief here.
There are some big questions here:
- Why undermine what is probably the most exciting drive for innovation, jobs and investment we have?
- Why stunt the growth of the next generation of energy production to allow North Sea oil and gas to stagger on for another couple of years?
- How does he square the pledge to tackle climate change with these backwards moves?
This cognitive dissonance was all too common in Corporate Social Responsibility a decade ago, but many have realised that the only way forward is to align business growth to sustainability. Osborne would be well advised to learn from the very people who will deliver the economic growth he so craves.
Photo reproduced under the Open Government Licence