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Tag: David Cameron

Weekly Greenhouse Round-Up

Sally Hill | 23.07.10

David Cameron looks over Manchester

David Cameron pledged to make the coalition the 'greenest government ever' but the continued announcements of green spending cuts is turning the idea into a joke.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has seen £34 million cut from its low-carbon technology programme. And as of this week the cuts include the axing of the Sustainable Development Commission, a sustainability watchdog.

This was an economically irresponsible decision. The closure of the SDC will save the government around £3m a year. George Monbiot pointed out today that the government's modest energy, waste and water reductions as a result of green progress have so far cut their bills by £60m to £70m. He rightly adds that the potential to make such savings in public bodies such as the NHS and the school system is a very expensive lost opportunity.

The most glaring disappointment is the new government's attitude towards sustainable development. There is such an opportunity to make the recovery and the new economy based on green infrastructure, efficiency, jobs, industry and innovation. Driving economic growth alongside environmental protection.

Our friend and Eco Hero Joanna Yarrow this week tweeted: 'Which planet are they saving pennies for exactly?' Does the decision make sense to you?

Here are the links we loved this week:

'UK Government Axes Sustainability Watchdog'
The closure of the Sustainable Development Commission was announced this week.
(The Guardian)

'How Scrapping the SDC to Save Money Will Cost the Taxpayer a Fortune'
Closure because of necessary spending cuts but what is the real and future cost?
(The Guardian)

'10 Ways Vegetarianism Can Help Save the Planet'
John Vidal examines the vast amounts of land, water and fuel that goes into the meat in our diets.
(The Guardian)

'Massive New Wind Project Moves the Ball in California'
Huge wind initiative has California on track to obtain 33% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.
(Treehugger)

'Can You Be An Environmentalist - and Fly?'
Knowledge about the environmental impact of flying presents environmentalists with a serious conundrum.
(Greenhouse)

'The 6 Least Green Types of Packaging'
Which types of packaging are the biggest nightmare for the environment and how to find alternatives.
(The Daily Green)

'Google Energy's Big Green Power Purchase'
Google backs wind energy with a 20 year investment.
(The Guardian)

'Big Ideas: 29 Authors Look at the Spirituality of Being Green'
The Greenhouse blog reviews a newly released book called 'GreenSpirit'.
(Greenhouse)

''Localwashing' in Pictures - Bogus Marketing at its Finest'
'Local' products are increasingly sought after, but marketers are onto it and telling fibs about where food comes from.
(Grist)

Barclay's Cycle Hire
Registration now open for the London bike hire scheme

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The Greenest Or Most Arrogant Government Ever?

Richard Lemmer | 30.04.12

Last week saw David Cameron make a few “remarks” on the environment at the CEM3 (Clean Energy Ministerial conference). For a man who clearly understands the power of PR, his choice of words were somewhat poor; the green movement was waiting for a key note speech, not a mode of address you would associate with cocktail party chit-chat. Somehow, Cameron thought he could explain that his government is the greenest in the entirety of British history - in less than ten minutes.

By making the claim, Cameron has set himself a huge task. Understanding the power of the green movement and the pressing need to deal with climate change, the prime minister understood he could save several birds with one bird feeder: detoxifying the nasty party by hugging a husky and urging voters to Go Green, Vote Blue. See below for Channel Four's entertaining Tom Clark showing us what huskies are really meant for. But for sheer sticking power, Cameron’s rhetoric and spin on green issues has been good, with his choice of words and images being reiterated by the media over and over. Unfortunately for him, his words seem to haunt him like ghosts with no substance, as Cameron struggles to live up to the expectation he has created. Last year, a Friends of the Earth report marked the progress of Cameron’s green policies: most of them were rated as moribund or showing limited progress. Also, if Cameron wants his green rhetoric to be taken seriously, he needs to stop jumping on the debt and deficit band wagon every time he mentions renewable energy. We have enough austerity vs green thinking rhetoric from George Osborne. As the ever discerning Damian Carrington has pointed out, the green economy now employs more people than teaching. There's no need for Cameron to hedge his green ambitions with worries about the deficit; the green economy is working.

But Cameron’s remarks regarding the environment expose a potentially greater PR misstep. A recent Guardian comment piece suggested that the prime minister’s problem is that he is creating the image of himself as an "arrogant posh boy." Cameron’s green government claim fits this image perfectly: he’s part of, like, the totally greenest government ever, yah?  And, of course, he sees it as "a very simple ambition." Forget the previous government making commitments to uphold Kyoto Protocol targets - Cameron's government is going to best that, and make it look simple. Cameron’s belief in his statement and the public‘s disbelief in the very same statement compound the public‘s feeling that the prime minister is out of touch.

People want a strong and confident leader. No one likes a naive and arrogant young man.


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