A group of “progressive Conservatives” has pledged to put the UK’s green economy at the centre of the party’s 2015 general election campaign and make sustainable energy generation the “norm” by 2020.
In a paper setting out a vision for progressive Tory policy, the so-called 2020 group of Conservative MPs, led by the Climate Change Minister Greg Barker, said that by 2020 a “new industrial revolution” would be underway, in which fossil fuel companies would be regarded as “archaic” and “unethical”.
Published on the same day as Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg launch a mid-term review of the coalition, the pamphlet, 2020 Vision: An Agenda for Transformation, is designed to reinvigorate Cameron’s modernisation agenda ahead of the 2015 election.
A centrepiece of the paper is a pledge to mainstream the UK’s green economy to the extent that companies not embracing more sustainable business models will be seen to be uncompetitive and risky.
A key part of this vision will be a shift to low carbon forms of energy production and a reframing of the notion of ‘renewable’ energy.
“We will drop the word “renewable” because renewable will be the norm. Ultimately, sustainable energy sources will be as much about economic efficiencies, resilience, and a modern economic model as it is about reducing our carbon emissions in the face of climate change,” the pamphlet says.
It adds that the shift to a low carbon business model would reduce companies’ exposure to “dangerously volatile” inputs, such as imported fuel and water, and that by 2020 companies would not be described as “green” or “ethical”. “Quite the reverse. Companies will be specifically described as fossil fuel companies and will be regarded as having archaic business models, greater insecurity in financial returns due to exposure to a widely fluctuating global market, and unethical in terms values and philosophy,” the pamphlet argues.
The paper does not set out any specific policy measures, but stresses that the priorities it outlines will be those the Conservatives will need to adopt in order to win the 2015 election.