This election is the climate election. It’s our last chance to radically change course, or face the threat of a hostile and dying planet. We don’t have time to waste.
But if you’re serious about tackling the climate and environment emergency, voting Liberal Democrat is just that: a waste of time. Here’s why.
1. They don’t understand the scale of the crisis.
We’re facing a climate and environment emergency. The IPCC has said we need to halve global emissions by 2030 to have any chance of curbing dangerous global heating. From Bangladesh to California, climate change is already disrupting the lives of millions of people, and scientists are warning of the “untold suffering” that will ensue if we don’t change course.
What, then, is the Liberal Democrat response? To bring forward the government’s target for reaching “net zero” (the point at which the UK will stop contributing to global carbon emissions) by just five years – from 2050 to 2045 . The science is clear: the Liberal Democrat ambition is woefully inadequate for the challenge we’re facing.
It’s clear that most people accept the science on this, and recognise we need to act fast. Polling by YouGov suggests that 56 per cent of the UK public – including the vast majority of Liberal Democrat voters – agree that net zero by 2045 is far too late.
2. Their sums don’t add up.
Not only are the Liberal Democrats setting their ambitions incredibly low, but their plans to meet the 2045 target just don’t stack up.
They want to draw 80 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – but their plans for new renewable investment won’t achieve this. They’ve said they will double wind and solar energy, but expert research shows that meeting this target would require a sixfold increase in wind and tripling solar.
Even worse, they don’t have a plan or even a target for decarbonising heating, which is responsible for 70 per cent of UK energy demand. Without this, decarbonising the UK energy system is impossible.
But perhaps the best example of how their sums simply don’t add up is their pledge to upgrade every home in the country to a higher standard of energy efficiency by 2030. They’re claiming they can do this at a cost of £15 billion, or just under £600 per household. That means their plans barely cover the cost of a couple of new windows for each home.
3. They sided with the Tories on policies that are bad for our climate and environment.
There are also serious questions about the Liberal Democrat record on climate change. Their leader Jo Swinson claims to have “campaigned tirelessly” on environmental issues, but from the cruel, ineffective badger cull to selling off our forests she’s sided with Tories and vested interests every time.
According to a Guardian analysis of votes in Parliament between 2008 and 2018, Jo Swinson voted against stronger climate action 50 per cent of the time. As a minister in the Tory-led coalition government, she consistently voted against stronger targets for carbon emission reduction and investment in clean energy.
Worst of all is her support for fracking. Not only have Swinson and her fellow Liberal Democrats voted for fracking at every opportunity, she received thousands of pounds from fracking boss Mark Petterson as recently as last year.
They jumped into bed with the Conservatives in 2010. And now, the Lib Dems are becoming a home for Tory MPs. Like the Tories, they can’t be trusted to tackle the big issues facing our country and our planet.
The facts are clear. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for business as usual on renewable energy investment, on fracking, and on public ownership.