“Many British businesses have woken up to Climate Change,” an interview with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey MP (Part One)
July 24, 2014 § Leave a comment
Ed Davey has one of the toughest jobs in this Government.
Trying to convince right-wing Tories to go with him-and vote with him-in the need urgently to tackle the deeply worrying and increasingly imminent threat of man-made Climate Change.
I’m one of those who believes David Cameron was, whilst you could argue rightly ambitious, creating a huge hostage to fortune when he said the Coalition would be ‘the greenest government ever,’ especially given the outright hostility to green issues showed by many of his colleagues in the Conservatives.
But Ed Davey has been quietly beavering away and achieving substantial progress, albeit with much more to do.
At last Saturday’s Social Liberal Forum Conference in London, I and three other bloggers sat down with the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
I asked Mr Davey his view on the Australian Tory Government’s recent vote to dump the Carbon Tax which had been introduced by the previous Labour premier Julia Gillard.
“Extremely disappointing, but expected. To be fair to the Australian Government they stood on a mandate for this, one can’t say that they have misled the Australian people; they were very, very clear and, therefore, they have a mandate to do that.
I don’t for a minute gainsay that. But I’m very disappointed that a country as important, as a close ally of Britain’s, as Australia, with so many things we agree with them, they have decided to take this decision which, I think, are not in the interest of Australians’ long term.
Because Australia’s been hit very much by Climate Change and I would have thought they would…the very progressive policy they had under the last Government, one would have hoped that would have continued.”
I then put to him that maybe the reason why many Australians appeared to be rather sceptical about the Carbon Tax was the way it had been introduced.
Julia Gillard had said before the election, “there’ll be no Carbon Tax under a Government I lead” and then did exactly that after the election.
Though, to be fair, it was a hung Parliament and I believe the introduction of the Carbon Tax was a condition of the House of Representatives’ sole Green MP supporting the then Labour Government.
“You’re absolutely right and that is one of the reasons why I go back to what I say he (Tony Abbott) had a mandate and so one has to respect a democratic Government’s mandate, even when you disagree with it.
But there’s no point me saying that I agree with it, because I clearly don’t.”
The argument given by the new Australian Government for dumping the Carbon Tax is that it holds business back, however-certainly in terms of a British context-Ed Davey disagrees.
“Many British businesses have woken up to Climate Change as a threat to their commercial future and the interests of their shareholders and I’m proud that the CBI in Britain has been a champion of green growth; they published a document talking about ‘the Colour of growth is green’ and we have a lot of very progressive corporates and it is worth putting that on the record, because actually I think British business, most British business, does not get the credit that it deserves and if you go to other countries, whether it’s the United States, Australia or indeed some of the European countries those Governments don’t have the support of the commercial sector.
And, actually, it’s also including the City, dare I say, because insurers know what’s happening in the World with weather patterns, they know the effect that has on insurance (premiums.)
So, high capitalists and high corporates are realising that they’ve got to take Climate Change seriously and it’s one of the reasons I’m more optomistic about whether we’re going to be successful on Climate Change because there are at least some companies and some financial institutions who are really getting this issue.”
Positive news, for sure!
TOMORROW: I talk to Ed Davey about how Lib Dems can best trumpet our green achievements at next year’s General Election!