General Election UK 2024

What is Desmog's assessment of the Climate Team in the new Labour Government?

Desmog examines the new team, their record on environment and climate and speculates on their roles for the future.

Greenpeace ranks parties on climate and nature

Greenpeace teamed up with Friends of the Earth rank the parties based on their manifestos.

What would we like to see from our next MP?

Our next MP needs to fight to ensure fossil fuels are kept in the ground: no new drilling should be allowed. This shouldn’t be controversial for anyone who recognises the facts about climate change. Even as conventionally technocratic an institution as the International Energy Agency has said that there is no need for further fossil fuel infrastructure to cover the transition to Net Zero.MPs must be aware of what analysts call the ‘carbon bubble’: due to the continual cheapening of renewables, the values of fossil fuel reserves are sooner or later going to collapse (unfortunately, probably not soon enough to prevent a climate catastrophe). To avoid a greater economic crash than 2007/8, a managed transition is necessary, with support and retraining for fossil fuel workers.Total spending on net zero needs to massively increase – from around £10 billion to £50 billion by the end of the decade, according to the Climate Change Committee. Much of this spending will have to come from government. If interest rate rises make borrowing more difficult, it will have to come from redistributive taxation. As the super-rich have doubled and quadrupled their wealth in the crises of recent decades, there shouldn’t be any reasonable objection to this. The long-term economic benefits of this investment will be considerable.As to specific programs, one standout is the need for a serious program to insulate our housing stock, often said to be the leakiest in Europe. Current government programs target only a tiny fraction of households, and unfortunately Labour has just dropped a relatively ambitious insulation pledge. An adequate insulation program will be expensive, but will reduce people’s energy prices, improve our health, and cut NHS costs.

There’s much more to cover, but briefly: we need to encourage solar installations on domestic and town centre retail properties, and to ensure the grid and storage are in place to handle this. We need to ban private jets and new SUVs, tax frequent fliers, and improve public transport. Local councils’ net zero plans need better funding. We need to clean up our rivers and restore natural biodiversity.

A good way candidates can show their commitment is to pledge to support the CEE Bill, a cross-party bill, requiring measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C and reverse the decline of nature by 2030. Candidates can also commit to backing the Green New Deal Bill and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.