George Osborne has vowed that the UK will not lead the rest of Europe in carbon emission reductions. In his speech at the Conservative Conference, Osborne announced that the government will only cut emissions when other European nations do. Yet Osborne stated in 2009: "If I become chancellor, the Treasury will become a green ally, not a foe".
Osborne accounted for this change in policy by inaccurately blaming "a decade of environmental laws and regulations [for] piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies." In fact these high prices are a result of the UK’s dependence on coal, gas, and oil. It is very clear that the British business sector would not be damaged with green regulations, as Osborne believes.
Here is what Cllr. Andrew Cooper, Green Party spokesperson on energy and climate change said: "The only sustainable way to boost our energy industry and keep energy costs low in the long run is to harness the UK’s clean power potential and develop renewable energy systems. Being the ‘greenest government ever’ given the record of past governments is not particularly taxing for the coalition, but the evident downgrading of the green agenda by the Chancellor and the Prime Minister shows a lack of appreciation of the consequences of climate change and the benefits to the economy and our society of addressing it."
Critics of Osborne’s statement liken him to former US President George W. Bush, who also pledged not to adopt green policies until other competitors did likewise. A stinging report from the UK's major environmental groups has concluded that the government has made moderate or no progress on more than three-quarters of its green promises because of obstruction by the Treasury and business departments and a lack of public backing from the prime minister. As I well remember David Cameron pledged within days of taking office that he would lead the "greenest government ever" but the report has found that good progress was being made on just seven out of 29 environmental pledges made in the coalition agreement.