UK: Climate action "a vote losing issue"

Osborne: reality bites

The UK government of David Cameron was held up as a shining example of a “green” success story – bravely taking the hard decisions and setting ludicrously ambitious emissions reduction targets in order to face up to the greatest moral challenge of our time, or something. But, as was inevitable, reality bites, and the UK chancellor, George Osborne, has begun to realise that the green utopian fantasy was just that:

In his speech to the Conservative Party conference, Mr Osborne said: “We know that a decade of environmental laws and regulations are piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies.

“Yes, climate change is a man-made disaster, yes we need international agreement to stop it.”

“But…we are not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. (source)

Of course, Osborne is still deluded about the effect of even an international agreement on the climate (zero – witness Kyoto), but the last sentence is the key. And in an article entitled “David Cameron’s Green Agenda Fades”, The Guardian wails over the change of direction:

It was the week the husky died. Since David Cameron was pulled across the Arctic ice in 2006, the promise of environmental action had been at the heart of rebranding the Conservative party as modern and compassionate. “Vote blue, go green” was the slogan.

But at the Tory conference in Manchester this week, George Osborne for the first time publicly attacked green laws and regulation as “piling costs on to energy bills” and appeared to abandon earlier aspirations of leadership for the UK in the low-carbon economy.

Cameron, who has made no major speech on the environment since pledging in May 2010 to lead the “greenest government ever”, made a single passing reference to “green technology” in his conference closing speech.

What is clear is that the politics have changed, if not yet the policies, according to Tim Montgomery, editor of ConservativeHome. “The government has decided that this is now a vote-losing issue,” he said, following briefings from the government.

“Soaring energy prices are what has forced Cameron to change. The government is now in sync with the vast majority of the Tory party who think it is futile to try to tackle climate change without a world agreement.” (source)

One of my commenters in a recent open thread wrote:

David Cameron endorsed the carbon tax in Australia. Discuss.

Perhaps we should rephrase that to read:

We are not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. Discuss.

We in Australia (except the entire Labor/Green government) have known for some time that unilateral climate action is a pointless, vote-losing policy. Finally, other countries are reaching the same conclusion.


  1. I wonder if Cameron truly does “endorse” the carbon [dioxide] tax, or if he did, what he thinks now. In any event, it might just be a case of him playing politics, and even if he does endorse it, that doesn’t mean it is right.


    Seems the the OZ green/labor mob misread David Cameron’s comment…,

    “But…we are going to save the planet by putting our country out of business.”

  3. of course cameron has very close connections to the “green” industry…

  4. justmeint says:

    Now how on earth do we get the message into Julia’s head and heart?

  5. Geoff Cass says:

    There was NEVER any chance whatsoever of being able to do anything about reducing the level of Carbon Dioxide in the world’s atmosphere, UNLESS the rest of the world – particularly China, India and the USA – join in. So the belief clearly held by our current Labor government, with the Greens, that Australia can achieve success by leading the world, is not only pre-doomed to failure, but also doomed to destroy our natiuonal economy, close down very many businesses, cause massive unemployment and even worse !!

    • The rest of the world (and AU) could shut all industries emitting carbon dioxide today and what then?
      What everyone “conveniently” ignores; 97% of C02 is natural. So whatever man does, will with all the best guesses/speculation/myths/religion/gossip/fashion make 0.0001 degree (or sweet f*ckall) change to earth’s temperature. I have not found a thermometer which can measure temperatures accurate to a thousand of a degree in my 30 years as an engineer.

  6. Other interesting quotes from the article:

    “Virtually all the delegates supported Osborne’s statements, with wind turbines dismissed as a waste of time…”

    “Montgomery noted that a summer poll placed energy and petrol costs at the top of voter concerns, ahead of jobs, crime and NHS, with climate change far behind.”

  7. Chris Keating via Facebook says:

    I find it laughable that the guy is considered a “conservative”. I guess that is how skewed things are now.

  8. No target is as bad as Labor’s planned 80% reduction in fossil fuels … absolutely nuts ! It will send us back to the Stone Age.

  9. Will make a few people very rich indeed.

  10. gyptis444 says:

    It’s a pity the lunatics are running the asylum here in Australia.

  11. Bryan Harris says:

    “Virtually all the delegates supported Osborne’s statements, with wind turbines dismissed as a waste of time…”

    It’s time a bit more realism crept into government – Cameron is trying to be all things to all things … and allows the libdems, their coalition partners, to dictate too much on things like environment.

    Our conservatives are sceptics by nature, but power comes at a price – IE the libdems…. I’m hopeful with some UK banks having just suffered a downgrade by S&P – Osborne will have more clout in stopping some of the more stupid stifling nonsense from the yellow party.

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