Thursday, 27 August 2015

Labour leadership contenders' stance on environmental policies

Environmentally conscious Labour readers of this blog may be interested in the candidates' answers to questions put by Friends of the Earth. Below I republish the original FOE blog that can be found HERE
We asked the Labour leadership candidates to tell us where they stand on green issues. Here is what they said (or didn’t say).

Two weeks ago we wrote about the scale of the Government’s destruction of green policies and the urgent need for strong opposition to these changes from the Labour party.

We also set out 10 key environmental policies we think Ed Miliband’s successor must adopt, in order to hold the Government to account on crucial issues like climate change and the depletion of the natural world.

We sent these policies to the four contenders for the Labour Leadership and asked them to get back to us with their responses.

What the Labour leadership contenders think

Despite extending the deadline (twice) and repeated private and public reminders (here and here for instance), we didn’t hear a peep from two of the candidates, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. (But see note at the end of the article)

Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn did get back to us, but with varying degrees of detail.

Andy Burnham's team provided us with this statement and an accompanying email explaining that many of the “quite detailed” policy positions we put to him “will be subject to the policy review that will take place leading up to the 2020 [general] election”.

The statement makes clear that under Mr Burnham’s leadership “environmental issues will be treated with new energy and will be given a prominent place in what will define the Labour Party” but provides little in the way of detail.

The clearest policy position in Mr Burnham’s statement is that “no fracking should go ahead until we have much clearer evidence on the environmental impact”. This is a welcome commitment, although short of the necessary pledge to oppose fracking full stop because of the unacceptable risks it presents to tackling climate change.

Jeremy Corbyn was the only one of the four candidates who replied in full to our specific asks.

The responses include a commitment to “take action now to keep fossil fuels in the ground” and “end dirty energy handouts, ban fracking and set a target date to end new fossil fuel extraction, and begin to phase out high polluting coal power stations with support for workers to re-train”.

Mr Corbyn said he would “call for unabated coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, to be phased out by 2023” and in a welcome move confirmed that “I am opposed to opencast coal mining which scars our landscape, and disrupts local communities with noise and air pollution.”

+++ UPDATE 24 August: Yvette Cooper gave a speech over the weekend outlining her "six point roadmap" on climate change ahead of the Paris summit at the end of the year. Read our take on it here+++

1 comment:

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

In Yvette Cooper's belated response to questions regarding her stance on environmental policies, she says that climate change is the most serious threat to our future. I wonder whether that was mentioned when she recently sent a circular to all prospective voters in Labour Party leadership contest, where she reportedly asked prospective voters to prioritise what she should campaign on from a list that she provided?

And re Corbyn's opposition to fracking, fossil fuels etc, I wonder how that squares with his having told the Andrew Mar show a few weeks back that we must have economic growth?

Dude Swheatie of Kwug