Election watch: Parties commit to climate action, but words are not enough

Voter election ballot box shutterstock_552864952

The RIBA’s Adrian Dobson compares the three main parties’ policies on climate

This year Channel 4 hosted a hustings on climate change – the first ever to take place. Climate change has rightly taken a place in the centre of the political debate. In this context it is unsurprising that the major political parties have all included policies on how they would reduce the UK’s carbon emissions, create zero-carbon homes, increase renewables and mitigate the likelihood and effects of flooding. While these are all positive steps, speedy and comprehensive implementation will be the true test.

Many political parties have pledged to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Where they differ is when this should occur. The Conservatives will reach net zero by 2050; Labour by 2030 and the Liberal Democrats will cut emissions substantially by 2030 and phase out emissions in hard-to-treat sectors by 2045.

Last week, the UN World Meteorological Organisation’s annual report showed that the concentration of climate-heating greenhouse gases has hit a record high. Clearly, we cannot carry on the way we are, and it is questionable if some of these targets are good enough.

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