The Conservative majority and renewable energy. Doom or disaster?
Mr Cameron is willing to wear overalls, but is he willing to maintain the UKs commitment to renewable energy?
Campaigners and leaders within the renewable energy movement and industry are warning that the newly elected Conservative government are going to spell a significant and dangerous set back to the development of green and renewable energy in the UK at a incredibly important time for our attempts to move away from fossil fuels. It is certainly clear that this was the result all supporters of green and renewable energy were having nightmares about in the run up to the election. Whilst Labour, the Lib Dems and, obviously, the green party all did much to talk up their green credentials before the election, the conservatives stayed distinctly silent whilst reiterating to their core support that their views on certain issue swung away from any even vaguely green consensus that may have been growing in UK politics over the past decade. Whilst campaigners steel for a fight, many are fearing that with a full majority behind them the conservative front bench will be able to scupper the hard fought for plans for renewable energy in the UK, plans that were barely adequate in the first place. The green cause has gone from bemoaning the scraps it is given at the table of power, to fighting for them.
The landscape of british politics has shifted, the battle for the landscape of the countryside has begun.
Cameron has said in the past that people are ‘fed up’ with the development of on shore wind farms, and that “enough is enough”. But many people are not so anti on shore wind farms, which have become our cheapest chance for renewable energy in the future. Cameron however would much rather turn toward shale gas and fracking, the much maligned method of drawing on gas reserves in the ground around the country. There is much debate surrounding fracking, what is certainly clear is that we cannot be sure what the effets of such a process are, and how far reaching and dangerous those effects might be. Whilst there is loud and regular support from those with in the fracking industry and supported by it campaigners insist that this process can have all sorts of effects, from poisoning water supplies to destroying the fertility of farm land. Cameron has in the past attached the “religiosity” of frackng critics in the past, asking for a more even handed and evidence lead approach of the issue. Most campaigners ask for much the same thing, but would never trust the Conservative government to undertake such a task considering they have already clearly stated their support for the idea of fracking in the uk with the Prime Minister claiming he would be “very happy” for fracking to take place in his Oxfordshire constituency.
Mr Cameron at home in Oxfordshire. There are no current plans to frack in Whitney. The soil is said to be rich, but perhaps too rich, and ultimately lacking in substance and integrity. No gas deposits have been located, though there is a lot of hot air.
Cameron’s climate catastrophe?
The Liberal Democrats blocked tory attempts to scupper wind farms through out the last parliament, but they have been jettisoned from government by a public who perhaps didn’t realise the worth of a good lead when containing a rabid dog. Without them the conservatives definitely well thought out ‘best for Britain’ plan will be put into action. The tory manifesto promised to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms”, and the house of lords can’t vote down a manifesto pledge, so it seems thats exactly what they’ll do. Tom Burke, former director of Friends of the earth, has said that “There is nothing good for green energy about the Tories’ election… They are certainly going to show a lot of hostility to renewables and Britain is going to get left behind.”
In 2013 Cameron reportedly said that he wanted to get rid of all that ‘green crap’ meaning the subsides granted to the renewable energy industry. Very well, Mr Cameron, but perhaps you’ll be getting rid of all that ‘green crap’ meaning the green, green grass of home, the rolling hills and flush forests of the UK, that you were so happy to put in your adverts, that you’re so happy to romanticise for votes, that you’re so happy to have your country retreat in, your second home funded by the taxpayer, but are so unwilling to help save.
Ah well, only five more years.