The Agenda

Positive Environmentalism

My friend Tim Montgomerie has written an excellent post on how conservatives should think about environmental policy.

Since Greg Clark MP became Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change he has been careful to develop policies that are justifiable on other grounds than climate change alone. (1) Combating general forms of pollution, (2) cutting energy bills, (3) reducing dependence on energy imports from rogue regimes and (4) increasing the diversity of our overall energy supply all feature in Greg Clark’s environmentalism.  Let’s try and have a more mature discussion about the environment and energy and not close our brains whenever the two words ‘climate change’ are mentioned. I’ll support any ‘green measure’ that makes significant contributions to those other four policy goals.

Tim cites Clark’s initiative on reducing home energy bills as a prime example. Gregory Lean of The Telegraph described it as follows:

Shadow energy and climate change minister, Greg Clark, announced that a Conservative government would make £6,500 available to every household in the country to take energy saving measures. The money would be provided upfront, and householders would only have to pay back a proportion of what they saved on their energy bills each year.

It would attack the biggest single source of carbon dioxide; heating and powering homes is responsible for some 27 per cent of Britain’s emissions. And the Tories reckon that it will create a £2.5 billion a year industry providing up to 70,000 skilled jobs.

It’s worth noting that the U.S. federal government now spends large sums on home heating assistance to low-income families residing in extremely energy inefficient buildings. There’s a teach-a-man-to-fish element to this policy.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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