URGENT action to create a low-carbon economy must be a key priority for the new coalition Government, Friends of the Earth has said.
The environmental campaign group said promises to develop a greener future are a significant area of common ground in both party manifestos – and that this must form the basis of a carbon-cutting strategy in both the Queen’s speech and the Budget.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “Both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have promised to develop a low-carbon future – our new coalition Government is a golden opportunity to make this a reality and reap the enormous economic benefits of investing in green energy and slashing energy waste.
“The Queen’s speech and Budget must contain significant measures to tackle climate change and demonstrate that the new Government has the determination to lead the country towards a greener future.
“The starting point must be a tougher target for tackling climate change. Our new ministers must agree to cut UK emissions by at least 42% by 2020 – the minimum scientists say is needed to play our part in preventing dangerous climate change.”
Following analysis of policies included in both the Liberal Democrat and Conservative manifesto and policy pledges, Friends of the Earth says that, as a minimum, the new Government should work together to take real green action by:
Announcing two new green laws in the Queen’s speech: an Energy Bill to boost green energy development, and a Housing and Local Government Bill to deliver more energy--efficient homes and ensure local councils play their part in cutting emissions by establishing local carbon budgets
Putting the development of a low-carbon economy at the heart of the Budget, including the establishment of a Green Investment Bank, a fund to create new green jobs and the introduction of a supermarket regulator
Immediately announce plans to scrap expansion at Heathrow airport (and preferably all airport expansion)
Friends of the Earth is also making the following key demands of the new Government:
A new law which will tackle the greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation caused by the UK's dependence on imported feeds for meat and dairy – and which will support better UK farming and domestic feed production
That the UK plays a leading role in securing an international agreement on cutting emissions where those responsible make the deepest cuts first, and developing countries are supported to grow in a low-carbon way.