General Election: How each party plans to tackle climate change

Climate change is one of the key issues with voters, and as temperature records keep getting broken it is easy to see why | ITV News' Martin Stew breaks down the parties' climate pledges


Climate records are tumbling.

The last 12 months were the hottest since records began and scientists forecast global average temperatures will exceed 1.5C above pre industrial levels as soon as 2033.

So how is the UK doing and what are the party’s plans ahead of the General Election on July 4?

Let’s start with some good news. The UK has dramatically cut emissions over the last 30 years. Down nearly 50% from 1990.

But to keep warming capped to 1.5 degrees modelling by Climate Action Tracker suggests we need to go even faster.

Current policies, they say, are “insufficient” and the High Court last month ruled the government’s plans to get to Net Zero are currently "unlawful".

So what are the main parties promising?

NET ZERO

The Conservatives and Labour are committed to reach Net Zero - where we don’t emit any more carbon than the planet naturally absorbs by 2050.

The Lib Dems and SNP want to get there by 2045 at the latest - though the Scottish Nationalists were criticised for watering down interim targets.

The Greens are aiming to get there within 10 years.

At the other end of the spectrum, Reform UK wants to scrap Net Zero targets altogether because they say they’re economically too expensive and we’re better off adapting.

NORTH SEA OIL AND GAS

The Conservatives say granting new licences for oil and gas extraction from the North Sea is essential for energy security whilst we transition towards Net Zero.

Labour say they won’t revoke any of approved licences but won’t grant new ones.

SNP and Lib Dems say they want a “just transition” and would consider licences on a case by case basis.

The Greens would cancel some approved projects including Rosebank.

Reform UK say they’d fast track new licences.

Credit: PA

FRACKING

Fracking is where shale gas is released from the ground.

There are potentially large reserves in the UK but many are worried about the environmental impact of extracting (subsequently burning) it.

Reform are actively in favour of more fracking. The Conservatives, Labour, SNP, Lib Dems and Greens are opposed.

CLEAN POWER

Different parties define ‘clean power ‘in different ways. Labour and the Conservatives include renewables and nuclear.

By 2030 Labour want 100% clean power.

The Conservatives are aiming for 95%.

The Lib Dems target is 80% of power from renewables by 2030.

The Greens and SNP also exclude nuclear power but their calculation of power demands include more things like transport. As a result their targets may sound less ambitious. SNP are aiming for 50% by 2030, The Greens target is 100% by 2035.

Reform UK has no targets.

NUCLEAR

The Conservatives, Labour, Reform are in favour of Nuclear energy.

Greens and SNP aren’t.

Lib Dems say it’s too expensive to build new projects but wouldn’t undo current plans.

ONSHORE WIND

Onshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy but hardly any turbines have been built over the last decade largely due to planning restrictions.

Labour, Greens, Lib Dems and the SNP actively want more to be built.

The Conservatives say decisions should be made locally.

Reform UK are opposed and would cut £10bn of subsidies for renewables.

Credit: PA

CARS

What about your car? A ban on the sale of new combustion engine vehicles was scheduled for 2030.

The Conservatives pushed that back to 2035 for economic reasons.

Reform would ditch the ban altogether.

Labour the Lib Dems and SNP are committed to 2030 whilst the Greens want no new sales after 2027.

OTHER POLICIESThere are a myriad of other policies from the Green’s pledge to re-wild, to 60 million new trees planted by the Lib Dems, to the SNP’s bid to cut single use plastic and Reform UK’s incentivisation of Lithium mining in the UK.

The key difference between the two biggest parties is between what the Conservatives would describe as a “pragmatic, proportionate” approach which largely sees more of the same versus Labour’s offering of GB Energy, a nationalised company designed to stimulate the Green economy.

They have been criticised for dropping promises to invest £28 billion - but say their offering is still more ambitious than the Conservatives.


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