Monday, May 9, 2011

Assessment of the UK government's green performance.

Recently the UK Friends of the Earth released an assessment of the performance of the UK coalition in terms of stimulating a green economy and driving sustainability through government. With the coalition having abolished the Sustainable Development Commission (not in itself a particularly good start) it is left for NGOs in the 'big society' to independently assess the government's call to be the 'greenest government ever'.

The lead author, Jonathon Porritt claims that Prime Minister David Cameron will break his promise to lead the 'greenest Government ever' without a huge improvement in performance. The report examined 77 policies and found little or no progress in more than three quarters of them. To be fair, the government is almost 1 year old and it is to be expected that it would not make headway on the full policy platform. However, many policies will require long term planning and action, and a lack of drive or enthusiasm now may result in evaporation of a range of sustainability commitments, particularly as short term political agendas dominate the government. The report found several key issues:
  • Where's Cameron?
    There's little evidence of the Prime Minister using his personal political clout to improve the Government's green performance.
  • Where are the Lib Dems?
    The Lib Dems have failed to promote their green agenda inside the coalition.
  • Where are the jobs?
    Government promises to create tens of thousands of new green jobs are evaporating.
  • Treasury blocking progress
    There are fears the Treasury is pressurising Ministers to reject new carbon-reduction targets recommended by their official climate advisor.
  • DECC isolated
    It's impossible for DECC to deliver comprehensive climate change plans when the rest of Whitehall is fundamentally disengaged - and the Treasury is hostile.  
The website is here - read for yourself and hold the government to account. 

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