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Agriculture and Food Production
We encourage localism (i.e. buying from British producers) and buying seasonal produce. This will support our countryside communities that produce our food, reduce transportation costs (both financial and emissions-related), ensure that the food we eat complies with our safety and animal welfare standards, and ultimately provides more localised capital for increased investment and innovation.
We support the modernisation of the agricultural industry (machinery, irrigation techniques, etc.), through both market incentives of increased efficiency and long-term investment.
We see the significant potential of GMO-foods, and especially ‘lab meat.’ Whilst the technology is still being developed and perfected, such GMO-foods will play a strong role in reducing water usage for agricultural purposes, freeing up land for tree-planting and house-building where we would otherwise grow crops and keep animals, and avoiding pitfalls of animal welfare as we consume less living beings.
Carbon Emissions and Air Pollution
We support the principle of a ‘net-zero’ target by 2050.
One of the primary safeguards necessary for a free market to function is the principle of factoring in negative externalities; these are the negative consequences that arise from private economic dealings, and infringe, to some degree, on others’ private lives. Pollution is one such negative externality, as CO2 or other forms of pollution bear detrimental impacts on common goods such as waterways, the air we breathe, our public lands, etc. Whereas taxes are often punitive and coercive, and a tool of intrusive government, CO2 pollution is a real and public threat, and must be accounted for within public life.
As such, a carbon tax is a step in the right direction but it must be carefully implemented with certain provisions to avoid a catastrophic impact on the economy.
In order to make a Carbon Tax most effective, it should be carried out on net rather than gross emissions. Moreover, to avoid passing costs on to consumers (disproportionately hitting lower-income communities), any carbon tax should come with a parallel reduction in corporate tax, which will protect consumer prices, at the same time as giving greener businesses a competitive edge on the market.
The market is already playing a huge role with valuable proposals, for example, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) tech removes CO2 from the air and stores it, which can then be used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), putting a market value on stored carbon for more efficient energy use, whilst reducing airborne CO2.
The USB as an Example:
One 16GB USB can hold the equivalent of 272,000 pieces of paper, that’s approximately 32 trees! We must do all we can to support market-led innovations which address the environmental challenges we’re facing. The USB did so much to help protect biodiversity in our rain-forests, the water cycle, trees, and our soil.
Purchasing carbon offsets is a great way for businesses and individuals to reduce their net carbon footprint, by funding projects that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Again, this can be valuable for businesses seeking to improve their public image in the market-place (donating to BCA is a great carbon offset by the way!).
Voluntary National Frameworks
To establish guidelines for businesses to more easily measure and report carbon emission reductions. Abiding by voluntary government guidelines for carbon reduction can incur a ‘seal of approval’ that Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria are being met, which generates positive PR and increased market share in a society that is increasingly rewarding eco-friendly businesses.
Energy and Tech
Continued economic growth is crucial to delivering the innovation necessary to combat climate change.
Competitive Energy Markets
We support a mixed/competitive energy approach: one that harnesses market forced and understands that a comprehensive combination of various energy sources will be necessary to transition to a decarbonised energy grid. This includes a transitionary fossil fued phase, nuclear energy, renewable energies such as wind & solar, thermal, hydro, etc.
As such, we are not in favour of top-down, expensive subsidy or nationalisation schemes at the cost of the taxpayer, as these are often inefficient and wasteful, as well as propping up unsustainable business. However, tax incentives for green energies can level the playing field after years of subsidies for fossil fuels.
We strongly support the use of nuclear power, as an exceedingly safe, clean, and reliable source of energy, by doing everything we can to extend the lifeline of current reactors and plants whilst renewable energy becomes more reliable and efficient.
There are explicit success stories that attest to the power of nuclear. France and Sweden, which have some of the lowest per capita carbon emissions in the developed world, both rely heavily on nuclear (72 percent and 42 percent, respectively) rather than on wind or solar power. France generated 88 percent of its electricity total from zero-carbon sources, and Sweden got an even more impressive 95 percent. At the same time, these countries have some of the lowest energy prices in Europe
A significant area of growth for the future of nuclear energy is in Small Modular Reactors, which are more flexible, less cost-intensive, and more able to adapt to the innovating technology of nuclear fusion.
Private or publicly funded Green Bonds can be used to fund promising clean technologies. While private investment is always encouraged, in particular the public sector can play a role here in funding promising new innovations based on a long-term, clean technology strategy, through a network of university research departments, military R&D, the national laboratory system, and government-backed Green Bonds.
The government must embrace and empower the entrepreneurial spirit in this country, by lending green bonds to innovators in such a manner that is premised upon long-term, technological strategy - this is called ‘capital steerage’.
Once launched, such technologies must be subjected to market forces to maintain continued innovation and growth, driven by a healthy profit motive. If the government isn’t taken out of the equation after the initial opportunity is launched, then it will bureaucratically end up subsidising failed projects and unworkable technologies, at the expense of the taxpayer.
Global issues require global solutions
The UK needs to take a leadership role on the international stage to promote positive, market-friendly environmental practice. This can be done through becoming a pro-enterprise bastion of innovation and new, clean technologies, which we can then export to the rest of the world. As the technology becomes globalised and more developed, downwards pressure on costs and prices will further incentivise other nations to adopt such clean alternatives.
This is a bottom-up international approach, starting with the key actor being the nation-state. We can solve common problems through what is called ‘polycentric governance,’ where localised stakeholders or regional partnerships produce innovative solutions that can then be adopted by other countries. Sovereignty is crucial for nations to be effective in combating climate change.
It is not enough for the UK alone to develop and use clean energies and technology to combat pollution on its shores. Climate change is a truly global phenomenon, and as such will require international cooperation.
We fully support the creation of a Sustainable Energy Free Trade Area, within which countries ditch all tariff and non-tariff barriers to the free trade of clean energy sources, as well as relevant transportation technologies and services. Free trade is crucial in tackling the global aspects of climate change.
We are optimistic about the opportunities for post-Brexit environmentalism. The EU is prone to top-down, centralising policy-making that stifles innovation, through imposed renewable energy targets, tariffs, and subsidies.
At times, corporatist elements have made EU regulators vulnerable to lobbying from fossil fuel industries, such as during Volkswagen’s infamous “Diesel Gate,” whilst its main science funding programme, Horizon 2020, has prioritised European integration over real innovation, by funding nearly 10 times more ‘social’ and ‘cultural’ projects than it has energy-related ones.
Though there are also positives to EU-wide scientific cooperation, our hope is that post-Brexit UK will keep its borders open for positive cooperation, whilst being in a position to move away from un-environmental policies such as the Common Fisheries and Agriculture Policies.
Oceans and Water Pollution
The UK is the first and only country in the world to have a ‘Blue Belt,’ which ensures the protection of marine areas and wildlife, to prevent issues such as pollution, over-fishing, and ecosystem degradation. There are 91 such Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) around the UK, an initiative we fully support. A strong Blue Belt also encourages sustainable fishing, which is important to our coastal communities.
We also fully support private ecopreneur initiatives that seek to give market forces a role in reducing plastic pollution. For example, 4ocean have turned the collection of sea-borne plastic into a for-profit industry, having pulled in over 6 million pounds of plastic waste over the last 2 years, which it then uses to produce recyclable consumer goods such as bracelets. The market often finds incentives that fuse both environmental and economic success.
We support the recent opening of the water sector to the market for companies and businesses to shop around for the best deal, which has decreased costs through competition, whilst saving water through incentives for greater efficiency. We would like to see this expanded to households as well, which will not only put market forces to work in the form of cheaper, more competitive prices, but also result in environmental benefits of greater water conservation, as competition makes every litre more valuable - to both customer and retailer.
Public Lands and National Parks
We fully support the National Park programme as a crucial element of Great British natural heritage. We share its mission to:
Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area
Promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the park's special qualities by the public.
We would like to see continued enhancement and expansion of this programme to align with the standards set out by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
We support extending the National Park framework to Northern Ireland
We believe in regional devolution and decentralisation to empower local authorities to tackle specific National Park/AONB-related environmental issues. Effective land management strategies give greater autonomy to local land managers who are better-equipped to tackle localised conservation issues. As such, we fully and continually commend the work of organisations like Forestry England, the National Trust, English Heritage, the Woodland Trust, etc.
Reforms that allow individual regional authorities to keep revenues from recreation fees have given local managers flexibility to use their funds to improve visitor experiences and address maintenance needs.
A majorly contentious topic in the UK currently is the issue of housing. We believe that the Green Belt should be protected for its natural beauty and shielded from environmental degradation, yet we recognize the housing crisis we are faced with. Though it is a complex issue with no easy answers, one potential solution is to build new homes on so-called ‘brownfield sites,’ which are previously developed lots that are not currently in use or simply derelict.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England estimates that 1 million new homes could be built on such sites, thereby significantly easing our housing problems whilst both reinvigorating local economies and protecting our beautiful countryside.
Wildlife and Animal Rights
We embrace private conservationist efforts to conserve native animal populations, and commend the vast charity network in the UK dedicated to these efforts.
We strongly support public/private conservation cooperation to maintain eco-diversity and protect endangered species, through devolution of funds to local councils and regional conservationist groups who know best what the issues they face are.
We are in favour of strong, enforceable rules to end animal cruelty, both in social contexts (such as circuses or private homes) and in the meat industry. We support the proposed UK ban on wild animals in circuses, as well as the efforts of the RSPCA to protect animal welfare.