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Backing for Zero Carbon Plan

August 31, 2007 9:02 PM
Rain Puddle

"Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide we are currently producing are almost certainly the cause of the extreme weather conditions we have suffered over the summer"

Liberal Democrats in Northampton have welcomed plans that will make Britain a zero carbon country by the middle of the century.

The plans will be debated by Liberal Democrats at the party's conference in Brighton on 17th September. Members from Northampton will be going to the conference to back the proposals.

Andrew Simpson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Northampton North, said, "Liberal Democrats have long argued that we have to tackle the problem of pollution and damage to the planet. The proposals put forward by Sir Menzies Campbell that we will debate at conference will mean that by the middle of this century, Britain will be a zero carbon country.

"That will mean that we will be producing overall no extra carbon dioxide, the main polluting gas that is leading to global climate change. Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide we are currently producing are almost certainly the cause of the extreme weather conditions we have suffered over the summer.

"Liberal Democrats have made the environment the main feature of our conference later this month. Going green means changing for the better many of our activities. And it means the Government changing policies as well. Under Labour for example, Gordon Brown has cut the tax burden on pollution, whilst putting up the tax burden on people.

"That means under Gordon Brown it has become cheaper to pollute. I strongly believe that people in Northampton will benefit from the Lib Dems' green tax switch. At our conference we will debate plans to switch the tax burden from people to pollution.

"We will cut national income tax and scrap council tax. To pay for this, we will increase green taxes on the most polluting activities. For example, we will increase the taxes on the most gas-guzzling cars and on aircraft.

"Liberal Democrats in Northampton are looking forward to conference. We will be meeting Chris Huhne MP, Huhne MP, our Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, and we will be discussing with him how we believe Northampton will benefit from the Lib Dem's green plans."

Ends

Notes to editors: the Liberal Democrats will be debating 'Zero Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead' on 17th September at the party's conference at Brighton. The main proposals include:

1. Make Britain carbon neutral. The Liberal Democrats are the first party to aim for a carbon neutral Britain where we absorb as much carbon as we emit by 2050. The Government is aiming for a 60 per cent cut, and the Tories for an 80 per cent cut.

2. Build a high speed rail line and back rail improvements. The Liberal Democrats are the only credible party on rail investment because we identify a way of paying for it - tolling lorries on motorways.

3. Set up a leapfrog fund to back clean energy in developing countries. There will be no solution to climate change if the developing world has to choose between prosperity and the planet. We must back cheap renewables to power their growth.

4. Boost flood defences and other changes to respond to climate change. New threats need to be met with new responses in a UK national adaptation plan.

5. Commit to 100 per cent carbon free, non-nuclear electricity by 2050. Provide new incentives for renewables and micro-generation through appropriate guaranteed prices.

6. Introduce 'green mortgages' to fund the upgrading of our housing stock. On present progress, the Government would take 125 years to meet modern energy efficiency standards. The Tories have no plans.

7. Tax pollution not people. The Liberal Democrats want to reverse the decline in green taxation under Labour, and use the revenue to cut income tax. The Tories have not come up with specific plans.

8. Toughen up the EU emissions trading scheme by auctioning permits. The Conservatives cannot admit the EU is key to tackling climate change, while Labour is in the back pocket of the CBI.

9. Back a global treaty with fair carbon shares for all. The only just basis for carbon-sharing is where each person is entitled ultimately to emit the same total: contraction and convergence.

10. The Liberal Democrats are the first party to set out a comprehensive plan to curb carbon emissions. Labour's policies are full of contradictions whereas the Tories do not have firm plans. We will reform Whitehall to ensure all departments take climate change seriously.