Two months from today, on May 6th, it is likely that we – the British public – will be invited to go to the election polls. Who and how many of us actually turn up is another matter. For those that do, we will be placing our vote with the (naive?) hope that the next government will do many things. Combating climate change sits at the top of my wish list. This must be an overarching theme of the work for the next parliamentary term. The significance and urgency of this task should not be under-estimated. We all know that the clock is ticking. According to analysis carried out by nef, we only have 81 months before we reach a crucial tipping point – the point at which it is no longer likely that we will be able to avert potentially irreversible climate change. With this in mind, how much of a priority is the issue of climate change in the current campaigns of the two main parties?
The answer, in short, is that it isn’t a priority. A quick review of the main new items listed on the Labour and Conservative websites highlights that not one reference has been made to ‘climate change’, ‘environment’ or even ‘green’ in the past week. Not one. The Labour party’s ‘energy and climate change’ page has not been updated since December, when they were canvassing for support for a deal at Copenhagen (so much for that). We see an equal paucity of interest amongst the Conservatives. Despite David Cameron claiming recently that the Conservatives are ‘the new environmental party in Britain’, the party has not released a news story on climate change and energy since early january. The Green Party, it seems, do not need to start to worry.
A low level of interest from the two main parties highlights that we have a vital role to play, as voters and activists, to move the issue up the political agenda. And now is the time to do so. We only have two months left. Write emails, wave a placard, start a campaign to get elected to parliament. Whatever it is, let’s all take action to make climate change a top priority for the election campaign and so the next government.