Thursday, 16 October 2008

Do we still need a Green party?

Amid all the chaos and uncertainty caused by current global economic troubles,
energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband yesterday committed the UK to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, overturning the previous target of 60%. Miliband also stressed that the government would not be distracted by current economic conditions: "In tough economic times, some people will ask whether we should retreat from our climate change objectives. In our view, it would be quite wrong to row back, and those who say we should misunderstand the relationship between the economic and environmental tasks we face".

Miliband also announced an amendment to the energy bill to allowing small-scale energy producers such as homes with wind turbines or solar panels to sell electricity to the grid at a guaranteed price. A similar strategy has helped Germany to create a huge solar industry. A full report of Miliband's speech is here.

So, as the establishment finally embraces the need for urgent action to combat climate crisis, is there still a place for a Green party in British politics?

Commentators at recent green events I've attended have emphasised the importance of mainstreaming green issues if we are to achieve the critical mass required to achieve the required reductions in greenhouse gases. Having a separate political party dedicated to green issues can only perpetuate the misconception that somebody other than the population at large is responsible for addressing the problem.

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