Election Announcement

A date has finally been set for the general election, find out the state play for climate and energy policies across all the major parties below:

After months of speculation, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has finally called a general election for the 4th July. On the same day that scientists warned of the dangers of increasing levels of rainfall in the UK, Sunak stood in a downpour as he made the announcement. It is these warmings and this imagery that will place the climate and energy policy at the centre of election debates.

For Sunak and the Conservatives, the narrative will centre on a ‘pragmatic progress’, echoing the much-repeated line that the UK has become the first major economy to halve its emissions (a statement much disputed by scientists) whilst also stating the need for a proportional net-zero policy that does not place a burden on the poorest in society or businesses. This narrative was deployed last September when Sunak announced changes to the UK’s net zero targets on electric vehicles, boiler installations and home insulation. Alongside this, Sunak has vowed to ‘max out’ oil and gas reserves in the North Sea to continue a stable supply of energy for UK consumers.

Hoping to remove the Conservatives will be Keir Starmer and the Labour Party. Their narrative will look to challenge the perceived chaos caused by the Conservatives changing track on climate and energy policy, instead arguing that Labour’s offering will create stability. The central focus will be Labour’s plans to create a publicly owned energy company, GB Energy, with the target of delivering 100% clean energy by 2030. The company will be funded with £8.3bn, mostly raised by a windfall tax on oil and gas giants. Supporting this policy will also be a national wealth fund for investment in green industries and technology. However, the challenge for Labour in enacting these changes will be its promise to stick within ‘fiscal rules’ as means of offering security and stability. It is for this reason that Starmer scaled back the party’s £28bn green funding pledge to £15bn in February of this year.

Other parties will look to stake a claim to leadership on the climate and energy during the election campaign. The Liberal Democrats have promised to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 and commit to 80% clean energy by 2030, alongside providing free retrofits for low-income homes, tax incentives to reduce energy and plant 60m trees a year. For the Green Party, they will look challenge the vilification of climate action and activists from the Conservatives and argue that Labour’s policies are not radical enough. Central to their policy will be the raising of £50bn through taxing the wealthy fairly to create a large-scale green investment programme. The SNP will seek to further calls for independence through arguing that Westminster has continually failed to provide adequate support for the oil and gas industries in Scotland. Finally, Reform UK will run on the most reactionary climate and energy policies, looking to scrap net zero targets, scrap £10bn worth of energy subsidies and exploit North Sea gas and oil.

For more analysis and commentary on climate and energy issues during the election campaign, keep an eye on LGE’s website and social media pages.