There was a real chance for the government to radically reform their economic outlook, a chance to make it more focused on environmental sustainability. However, what seems to be happening, is a complete disregard for environmental commitments that should be paramount to the aims of the government, as empty targets seem to be all the government is proposing.
The FT has an interesting report about the businesses anger of having to increase their CO2 emission cuts – even though the newly proposed 30% cut instead of 20% is not radical enough. The arguments against the reduction by the businesses, centre around an economic argument that they can’t afford to do so due to the current economic situation. However, this is precisely the time to change old habits, and have a more ethical outlook.
Nevertheless, to change – there needs to be better assistance and promotion of green sustainability by the actual government. The businesses attitudes are hardly going to be improved if the government themselves have a pretty shabby record on green sustainability.
For example, Left Foot Forward have a good piece on green taxes and how they are likely to reduce in terms of the level of tax revenue they provide. The coalition promised to increase the revenue from green taxes, but to do so, the IFS argue that:
“It would need to raise an extra £6.7bn – nearly 15 per cent more than currently forecast”
There is no real drive for environmental reform, the government can’t even work out whether they want onshore of offshore wind power. And now consider Fox’s conflict with the Treasury over under whose remit it is to pay for Trident – unfortunately, the moral and environmental problems Trident renewal (and in fact nuclear weapons in general) poses didn’t make the Tories doubt Trident renewal, it is the potential cost and cut to more defense equipment that has. This could lead to questions, if the Treasury wins – which it probably will – it is the Treasury after all (as Hacker says in Yes Minister “you can’t beat the treasury”), that defence is not being properly funded that could hark back to the accusations of the Brown and Blair era.
A lot of the environmental problems relate to the capitalist structure. Even as I am writing this I have got an invite for a Facebook group addressing the problems of the climate and capitalism. As I stated in the opening of this blog, the enviroment is affected by the economic structure, so the government and the business have to stop using the cheap line of “well its a recession, so you can’t possibly expect us to restructure” and realise that this is the perfect chance to restructure.