Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Nick Clegg responds to Friends of the Earth

Nick Clegg has already responded to our letter and it's good that he describes himself as "a huge supporter of Friends of the Earth."
We're going to wait until we've received responses from all the party leaders to comment further, but in the meantime it'd be great if you let us know what you think - you can comment below.
Here's his letter for you to read.
Dear Andy,
Thank you and all your co-signatories very much for your letter. I couldn’t agree with you more: this election could be a turning point, not just for Britain but for the world environment. Some people think that’s overstating it, but the scientists tell us that the coming five years could be our last chance to avert dangerous climate change. That means the government we elect next has the most enormous responsibility: to provide change at home and leadership abroad to stop the disaster from happening.
I am a huge supporter of Friends of the Earth. I’ve met up with FoE campaigners twice in the last year – at Glastonbury and at Sipsom, the village that will be destroyed if plans for a third runway go ahead. I am delighted you have chosen to get so involved in trying to influence the outcome of the election in a green direction. It’s people like you who can and must make the difference and ensure the next set of MPs take that responsibility for the future of our planet seriously.
The sad truth is there are far too many people standing for Parliament, especially in the Labour and Conservative parties who do not. I wish we didn’t have to make climate change a party-political issue, but when some parties don’t recognise the need for change, it has to be. Labour voted down a plan Liberal Democrats put before the House of Commons to cut government emissions by 10% this year as part of the 10-10 campaign. And the Conservatives don’t even support targets to generate just 15% of our energy from renewables. Yes, they speak well about the environment, but when it comes down to it, they block the action we need.
As you say in your letter, these are difficult economic times, but the recession must not be an excuse not to take action now. Indeed, economic recovery and green politics can go hand in hand. That is why we’re committed to a green jobs package. By investing in green technologies, home insulation, and public transport, we’d create hundreds of thousands of new jobs that will last and make the economy sustainable too. Britain can also be the green powerhouse of Europe, moving to renewables and not relying on nuclear – and now’s our chance to prove it.
The climate challenge requires a response at all levels of government – and Liberal Democrats would hard-wire green thinking into our whole approach. We know how important it is to make housing greener, so in government we’d start a programme to do just that – as well as tightening up the rule on new homes so they’re fully energy-efficient and changing the way we charge for energy, so people who use less are better off. We’d cut fares for passengers on public transport and create a UK Infrastructure Bank to invest in high-speed rail and shift money from roads to rail. We’d reduce air pollution and set a target for zero waste, so we stop wasting resources and ruining our precious landscape with landfill.
I could go on and on about our policies on climate change and on protecting our natural environment. You can find pages of policies on our website, and I hope you’ll take the chance to take a look. We are full of ideas about real changes we can make – eager to get power and influence so we can make them happen. Wherever Liberal Democrats are have power, from parish councils right up to the European Parliament, we use it to implement green change.
I genuinely believe the future of the climate is at stake, and you can make a difference. You only have one vote: use it wisely.

Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats