Historically the environment have not been a voter winner or a loser, however due to the rising concerns about global warming people are giving more attention to the issue. This has meant that parties have had to take more care on the issue to win votes. In 2010 the coalition government was formed between the liberal democrats and the conservative party. After winning the election both the energy and climate change minster and the prime minster have declared that their government would be the greenest government ever.
Over the past two years the government tried to keep their promises by a number of ways, however there are some issue which makes them less green. This essay would look some arguments suggesting they have been green and some against to assess the fact whether they have been the greenest party ever. One reason which suggests that the coalition government have been green is that they have cancelled planes for the expansion of Heathrow airport. Currently Heathrow generates 50% of UK aviation emissions which make 6% of total emissions.
If a third runway were to be build Heathrow’s contribution to overall UK emissions would rise to 50% of by 2050. This would have had a negative impact on environment overall because it increases the chance of a global warming. This would mean that UK would have fallen behind it emission target set by the carbon trading scheme. Some argue that the conservative party have shown real dedication because they have chosen environment over economy which has been traditionally an area which the conservative have been in favour of.
By rejecting the planes some argue that the coalition government have shown to be the greenest party. Another reason which suggests that the party is green is because they proposed the replacement of the Air Passenger Duty with a per flight duty. According to the current the system every time a person gets a flight they have to pay a tax ranging from i??12 to i??170 depending how far people travel. The coalition wants to change this so that the plane would have to pay the tax not the passengers.
This would encourage airlines to fill every seat because if their flights were half-empty they would still pay the tax. This would in turn reduce emission and pollution in the air, which is important issue in protecting people from dangerous climate change and emission targets. The Coalition Agreement pledged to establish a smart grid and the roll-out of smart meters. The Government announced a strategy at the end of March stating that 53m smart meters will be installed in 30m homes and businesses, starting in 2014 and finishing in 2019.
Government has claimed that those householders will save i??23 on annual energy bills by 2020. This is a very welcome development, although many commentators still have concerns over the implications of power companies having access to sensitive information. There are also concerns about fairness with those able to understand energy use and purchase efficient appliances standing to benefit more. However there are some arguments against the fact that the coalition government is the greenest party ever.
One of key issue is that the government have tried to privatise forests. Forests have many environmental values. They are important for wildlife because it is the home for many species and also help to slow global warming. This is because trees take carbon dioxide from the air and storing it as carbon in their wood. This in return reduces the greenhouse effect. By selling the forests to the private company it means that they can do anything they want with it. For example if the it was sold to an energy company then they would be able to chop trees down for energy.
Similarly if it was sold to a property development company then they would have a legitimate right to flatten it to build houses. However the coalition government have no trees would be lost and that the government’s plane is to increase the number of trees through privatising forest and would only be fulfilling a manifesto promise (the big tree plant). Another argument which suggests that the government is not in fact green is that they have planned to abolish the sustainable Development Commission.
Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), which performed a watchdog and advisory role on green issues. One of its main functions was to advice government how to cut carbon emissions. The decision of the coalition government has meant there is no means to assess the degree to which the Government is living up to its Greenest Government. Many have argued that the loss of the SDC’s experience and resources presented a risk to the government’s green agenda and the sustainability of its policies.
A final argument which suggests that the coalition government is not the greenest government ever is because it has planes to repeal the hunting ban on fox. This is bad for the environment because it can lead to the animals getting extinct and can lead to reduce biodiversity. The ban has worked and has allowed people to continue riding with hunts without the cruelty previously involvedOpponents have argued that ban on fox hunting is an affront to civil liberties and unworkable.
They have also argued that a ban on fox hunting can reduce employment rate in the urban areas and given the economic state of the country it would not be a popular choice. In conclusion the government have been green but the issue of whether they have been the greenest government ever is not clear. The government have been green in the fact that they have in less than 2 year scrapped plans for a third runway at Heathrow, It also plans to introduce a new high speed rail network that will be much less polluting than alternative forms of transport, launched Green Deal to improve home energy conservation etc.
However they have also scrapped the loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, and stopped Labour’s plan for the Green Investment Bank. But despite all those the government have been green because in many issue they have shown their commitment to being the greenest government ever by choosing the environment over the economy despite the fact that the country is in recession.