General election: Which parliamentary candidates have made climate pledges?
Of the 3,006 individuals running to be elected as MPs at next week's general election, more than one-third have pledged to consider climate impacts in every vote they would cast in Parliament. But which parties have been most keen to take up the commitment?
Facilitated by campaign group Friends of the Earth, the pledge calls for candidates to support measures to rapidly decarbonise the UK economy if they are elected.
Specifically, signatories publicly commit themselves to “making the climate crisis central to how they vote in Parliament” – a measure similar to that unveiled by the New Zealand Government at COP25 in Madrid this week.
Friends of the Earth has been encouraging those running for election to take the pledge for several weeks, and yesterday (5 December) made the results to date publicly available.
The publication comes after a separate study found that two-thirds of the UK population will factor climate issues into the way they vote in the 12 December general election.
With this in mind, edie takes a look – by party - at which candidates have heeded the changing climate-related demands of the public and taken the Friends of the Earth pledge.
Friends of the Earth is ultimately aiming for all Parliamentary candidates to take the pledge, in the hopes of making sure strong climate policies are delivered no matter which party is in power.
“The public wants climate action and it’s encouraging to see so many parliamentary candidates paying attention, but we need them all to take the climate crisis seriously,” the organisation’s climate campaigner Muna Suleiman said.
“The climate crisis is having dire impacts around the world, including on communities right here in the UK who are facing extreme flooding, heatwaves, wildfires and more. This will only get worse if the next government doesn’t step up to stop further climate breakdown.”
Where does each party stand on green policy issues?
In their manifestos, each of the UK’s four largest political parties – namely the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Green Party – have all set net-zero targets for the UK.
However, disagreement on timescales persists. The Tories would maintain the existing 2050 target, the Liberal Democrats would shift it to 2045, Labour is aiming for some point in the 2030s and the Green Party is calling 2030 the “latest acceptable” deadline.
There is also dissent on how best to achieve this transition, and which actors in the economy should be made to bear the costs of what the IPCC has called the deliver of “rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society”.
For those looking to compare each party’s commitments and stances across a range of green policy issues, edie has launched a policy manifesto matrix, outlining all the key commitments – and some notable omissions – that the Conservatives, Labour, Green Party and Liberal Democrats have issued. You can access the matrix for free here.
Additionally, Channel 4 has now uploaded its climate leaders debate to watch on demand. The broadcast, which took place last Thursday (28 November), was attended by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, and Green Party co-leader Sian Berry. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party’s Nigel Farage both failed to turn up and were replaced by ice sculptures.