Following today's Labour party conference speech by Meg Hillier, Shadow Energy & Climate Change Secretary, it is good to see that both sides of the political spectrum now understand that there will be no green without growth. The way forward is about growing in a green way, done together not separately in different government departments, wanting different things that contradict each other. There is nothing to divide the messages from the government and opposition on this issue, what is important is how these messages are delivered.
Here in the UK we have some of the toughest carbon reduction targets in the world. Yet, even though there is a long term goal, there is no long term solution for achieving the goal. All parties have made clear what is needed, but no one has come forward with any tangible actions to get us to this 2050 vision where we will have decarbonised our energy sources, be leading in low carbon and green technologies, and we will all have green jobs.
During Ms Hillier's speech we heard about significant action at Durban, we heard that a Labour government would aim for leadership on the world stage in creating an international agreement to cut GHGs. This new found interest is encouraging, as many will recall a previous Labour minister who left one of the rounds of international negotiations a day early and missed the conclusion and final agreed actions.
There was no talk about whether the UK and EU targets were the right ones or whether the policy mix aimed at meeting those targets is fit for the job, or even whether the Renewables Target achieves our aims in the most cost effective way. A target that the Labour government signed up to.
Many of the problems may well have come to the fore in recent months, but let's not forget that these are not new problems, fuel poverty has been rising steadily from 6 per cent to 18 per cent between 2003 and 2009, energy prices too have been rising parallel with this trajectory.
What the UK needs most is certainty, not more ‘hot air' from either side. Certainty that we will be given the conditions to make the most of the opportunities to move to a low carbon economy and the benefits that come with this. We need leadership and tangible actions. We know what is needed, what we need now is practical actions to get us there.