After an opening week in which the Paris Summit on climate change was overshadowed almost completely in the media by terrorism* and the Syrian Bombings, the prospects look better for the second, more decisive week. For a start The Government, who may have benefited from a distracted media, are coming in for a good deal of criticism for their hypocrisy on environmental matters. Ever since first standing for election back in 2010 the government has flown the green flag whenever it suits them while cutting back on environmentally friendly payments and policies such as renewable energy subsidies and planning primacy for wind farms.
David Cameron and George Osborne have become particular targets for condemnation as analysis of our Government’s green policy reveals a complete lack thereof and, in fact, a range of very black environmental policies.
Craig Bennett from Friends of the Earth told the BBC that: “The government is totally hypocritical on climate change.
“George Osborne’s anti-environmental policy decisions on energy fly the opposite way to the low-carbon route the vast majority of other countries are pursuing.
“There is a total mismatch between his policies and the warm words of David Cameron. The reality is that on energy policy the chancellor is effectively prime minister already.”
Recently Mr Osborne scrapped a one billion pound fund for a demonstration plant to capture CO2 from a power station and store it underground, which would have cued a leap for UK environmental policy.
Government support for the solar energy feed-in tariff was also limited severely with a view to withdrawal when it became evident that it was actually working and thus costing energy companies and the public sector a great deal.
There is very little hot air being blown by the media in the direction of the climate talks, so the sails of the huge number of green Brits remain unfilled and the Government remains unpressured on the issue. Of course the fairly environmentally focused Guardian has been reliably on the case but it still takes a while to find any mention of the Paris talks here, let-alone elsewhere. Frankly it’s a bit of a let-down from those who claim to govern our governors.
Admittedly there has been a lot of flooding from Storm Desmond to cover but it takes a trip deep into the Guardian’s minor stories to confront the obvious link between the two stories that exists in the form of global warming and rising sea levels.
Hopefully the government’s hypocrisy on environmental affairs will be highlighted in short order and prevented in future, but this will only happen if media outlets take their chance to make a difference.
*On a side note: I’m not sure that an angry guy with a knife counts as terrorism, this may seem pedantic but accusing anyone who mentions Syria and Islam of being a terrorist is neither helpful nor fair on the people for whom these words are very relevant and emotive.