The deputy prime minister used his keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat’s conference in Brighton to warn his coalition partners on the dangers of scaling back its commitment to green policies.
Having dismissed the Tories’ ‘vote blue, go green’ strapline used at the last general election as a ‘PR exercise’, Clegg turned on chancellor George Osborne for suggesting that economic growth and environmental policies were mutually exclusive. He added that this was a ‘short sited’ argument as decarbonising our economy poses ‘a fantastic economic opportunity’.
The party are determined to be seen as a greener alternative to the two other main political parties and passed several green resolutions at the conference including a block on airport expansion in the South East, a relaxation of borrowing rules for the Green Investment Bank and inserting a decarbonisation target for the electricity sector in the Energy Bill.
Friends of the Earth’s executive director welcomed Clegg’s speech saying: “Nick Clegg has rightly identified the necessity of building a low-carbon economy – and the huge financial benefits this will bring to the UK.
“The key test of Mr Clegg’s environmental resolve will be the forthcoming Energy Bill – it must contain a legally-binding commitment to decarbonise the power sector by 2030, as called for by the government’s official climate advisor.
“It’s time to stand up to the anti-green Chancellor.”