22. 09. 2010

The Latest Climate Change Denier?

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I’ve just spent some time reading through Nick Clegg’s speech to his Party Conference.

And I found myself asking whether this might be the first speech by a Party Leader in the 21st Century that doesn’t even mention climate change? Indeed, could it be the worst speech ever, from a sustainability point of view, from a Lib Dem Leader in modern times?

I know it’s a bit geeky, but here are the relevant extracts from the speech:

“We promised a re-balanced green economy. There will be a Green Investment Bank to channel money into renewable energy”.

“Imagine how it will feel to visit home after home that our Green Deal has made warm and affordable to heat”.

And, er that’s it.

Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was a good speech. Nick Clegg is a real Leader, and he spoke well about making the Coalition work.

I’ve never really understood where the ‘soul’ of the Liberal Democrats is located, but he spoke of this with integrity and purpose. There will be many Lib Dem activists who will not have been persuaded (largely because of their visceral hatred of the Tories). But he was as persuasive as he could have been, and he had a lot of big and important issues to tick off.

But really! If the environment / sustainability / climate change nexus isn’t very close indeed to the Lib Dems soul, then you have to ask what is.

As far as the general public is concerned, if the Lib Dems can’t ‘deliver’ on the environment (as in ‘greenest government ever’) on behalf of a Coalition Government as a whole, then they’ll get slaughtered.

And nothing – not one word, not one passing nod – about climate change. We’re just a few weeks away from the next big climate change conference in Cancun in Mexico (the near-inevitable failure of which will essentially result in the demise of the Kyoto Treaty post-2012, representing a massive set back in terms of addressing climate change), and the Deputy Prime Minister has got diddly-squat to say.

I haven’t done my homework, but my hunch is that this is the first Conference speech from a major Party Leader that will have completely ignored climate change in recent times. Ever since Tony Blair used his conference speech as Prime Minister in 1997, to raise the whole profile of climate negotiations, it’s been up there as a ‘must mention’ by all Party Leaders – however superficial and meaningless some of those mentions may have been.

I rather doubt David Cameron, let alone the new Labour Leader will make such a fundamental error.

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23. 09. 2010

One fears that the climate change policy momentum has been lost

I was at event last week at which Matt Ridley spoke ( Woodstock literary festival ) His basic thesis outlined in his new book the Rational Optimist was banal. e.g its great to be optimistic, we can change things, and we have never had it so good.

More importantly he was dismissive of climate change issues by way of saying that climate has always changed naturally no problems we will adapt and of course we are making a contribution to that too now but no problems we cannot deal with

He was super popular with the audience ( mostly over 50's I might add ) frankly most people are climate change sceptics and see no need to change over much. I asked him if he felt he might have had a rougher ride from younger age group?

He is a classic educated Oxford type of certain age ( 52 ) and has no need to worry overmuch about anything..certainly not 4 degrees of warming impacting on us in 2075. Our children do though but I fear no one is worrying overmuch , at least in Governments

23. 09. 2010
Fr. Peter

Impressive leader, agreed, but just where does his heart lay? It was a golden chance to promote the Climate Chaos issue and all the concerns that are around it.

He (the leader of the party that came 3rd in the General Election) is now the Deputy PM. The Lib Dems had fantastic and positive coverage at long, long last rather than being the butt of all the jokes, and... he blew the opportunity.


24. 09. 2010

Nick Clegg has just given speech to the UN about world poverty where he mentions –er…climate change. This is Monty Pythonesque - if you don’t say ‘climate change’ in every speech you’re a denier?

Jonathon to suggest Nick Clegg is a denier, is more absurd than some of your fellow Greens calling you Nazi because of your support for OPT.

28. 09. 2010
Jonathon Porritt

In response to David's entry on September 24th, Jonathon writes:

"Perhaps you missed the question mark? Or was the irony just a little too heavy?"

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