Nick Clegg has issued a stark warning to the Conservatives that the Liberal Democrats have not forgotten David Cameron’s environmental promises in the run-up to the general election.
Speaking at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, Clegg reiterated that the Lid Dems were focused on building a new economy out of the rubble of the old. The Deputy Prime Minister stated the need for “a strong, balanced economy built on productive investment, not debt-fuelled consumption. An innovative, inventive economy driven by advances in science and research. And yes, a clean, green economy too, powered by the new low-carbon technologies. Britain leading the world.”
Clegg’s endorsement of the green economy echoes sentiments expressed by his party partner Ed Davey as well as Labour leader, Ed Miliband. As such, the green economy appears to be a key political battleground in Westminster over the coming months.
Clegg continued by apparently criticising George Osborne’s claims that green measures ‘burden’ businesses, stating: “Unless we can see off that most short-sighted of arguments: that we have to choose between going green and going for growth. Decarbonising our economy isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s a fantastic economic opportunity. “The green economy in Britain is growing strongly right now, bringing in billions of pounds and creating thousands of jobs – in wind, solar and tidal energy; the technologies that will power our economy in the decades to come. Going green means going for growth. But more than that, it means going for more energy that we produce ourselves and which never runs out; it means going for clear air and clean water and a planet we can proudly hand over to our children.” He added: “Going green means going forward. So let the Conservatives be in no doubt.
We will hold them to their promises on the environment.” The Deputy Prime Minister was also scathing of Cameron’s ‘Greenest Government Ever’ tagline, dismissing it as a "PR exercise", stating: “Of course, there was a time when it looked like they [the Conservatives] got it. It seems a long time ago now. When the Tories were going through their naturalist phase. The windmills gently turning; the sun shining in. As a PR exercise, it was actually quite brilliant. Until, at last year’s party conference, they went and ruined it all, admitting that you can’t in fact “vote blue and go green”. Well of course you can’t. To make blue go green you have to add yellow, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” Clegg’s robust defence of the green economy will hearten those in the solar industry who have been left to deal first-hand with the effects of shattered investor and consumer confidence, following a series of disastrous feed-in tariff policy changes over the last 18 months.