Friday’s school strike for Climate Change certainly grabbed the country’s attention as thousands of school children skip school to protest the government’s supposed “inaction” on climate change and environmental issues. However the protest was turned into a hate rally against the Conservative Party, who are leading the way when it comes to climate and environmental protection, not just in the UK but around the world.
I do agree that climate change is a threat to our future and presents risks not just to our lives but also to wildlife and our country itself. However, the notion that the government has done little or nothing to help the situation is untrue.
The Conservative Party has been a Green Environmental party long before myself or these protesters were born.
Since the Conservative Government came back into power in 2010, Carbon emissions have fallen by 23% and the UK’s CO2 levels have declined by 38% since 1990. A further analysis by the Carbon Brief found that the UK’s total carbon emissions in
2017 fell to levels not seen since 1890. The decline in carbon emissions is faster than other major developed country.
Just last year, renewable energy capacity surpassed fossil fuels for the first time. This is an accomplishment that experts say would have been unthinkable half a decade ago.
If reducing carbon emissions isn’t enough to prove to you that the Conservative Party is committed to maintaining the environment for future generations; in 2015 the government announced that by 2023, the UK would restrict the use of coal powered energy before phasing it out in 2025. Foreign investment of £100 million to Sub Saharan Africa also shows the UK Government commitment to help developing countries reach their renewable energy targets and reduce their CO2 levels.
The current government has not only been a world leader in the fight against climate change but also in the fight against plastic pollution in our oceans and in our environment.
An estimated 12 million tons of plastic waste is dumped in the world’s oceans every year resulting in marine animals consuming plastic, which could either kill them or make its way up the food chain to our dinner plates. In 2015, the government introduced a 5p charge on single use plastic bags. This has helped reduce plastic bags in the environment by 86% and over the next decade will benefit not only the environment but also the economy.
It is expected the bag fee will bring over £780 million profit to the British economy, close to £60 million in savings from clean up costs and an overall carbon saving of £13 million. The government sets the 5p surcharge; however they do not profit from it, the surcharge is given to a good cause chosen by the retailer. It is hoped that up to £730 million will be given to good causes over the next ten years from the 5p plastic bag surcharge.
This initiative by the Conservative Government has not only reduced the amount of plastic bags used by the public but also gives money back to local communities. The plastic bag was the first crackdown in the government’s war on plastic waste.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove revealed the Conservative’s 25 year environment plan at the beginning of 2018, which proposes to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste before 2042. Further bans have continued since the unveiling of this plan, such as the Microbead ban in June 2018 and the upcoming ban of straws and cotton tips between late this year and late 2020. The plan also aims to reduce air pollution by meeting legally binding targets and ending the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040.
So to me, the Conservatives are the real green party. Climate change is the challenge we must tackle for the next generation. The Conservatives are the only party in parliament with a long-term plan to tackle the environmental problems we face today.
I really hope those who attended the march, held up anti Conservative signs and chanted “F*** Theresa May” go home and do their research on what the Conservative government have done to protect the environment over the last eight years because it is a lot more than what any previous government has put forward to combat issues facing the future generations and the environment.