Armchair Ecowarrior

What’s a part time ecowarrior to do? More importantly, for an election blog, how should they vote?

Tony Blair recently unveiled plans for sustainable development. A key part of the plan seems to be a call to make overseas governmental trips carbon neutral, investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to offset the air travel. Is there something we’re not being told about ministerial travel?

More substantially, there’s going to be a “national task force on sustainable public procurement”. This is more like it, but what will it apply to? Purchasing? Light and power? New buildings? The place to go to find out has to be the Labour Party website. Type “Sustainable development” or “environment” into the search engine and you get……..?

Not quite nothing, but really this tells me nothing. Are new hospitals going to get solar water heating? Could city academies be as radical in their low impact design as their educational ethos? I’ll never know if I look here.

Try the same search at the Conservative or Lib Dem sites and you find substance, such as recent speeches by Tim Yeo and Charles Kennedy. Finding that Tory central office is carbon neutral was a pleasant surprise, and both parties say they’ll do something to make aviation pay its environmental dues. In terms of detailed plans Yeo wins over Kennedy. Hoever, the latter is proposing a dedicated Department of Environment, Energy and Transport. I could argue with aspects of either speech, but at least they’ve been presented so I can argue them.

Labour has a nice picture of a field with bales in it. (Square bales, mind. All the farmers where I used to live had switched over to round bales before I went to University over a decade ago. Are the publicity photos even up to date?)

Maybe when the phoney war ends and we enter the election campaign proper Labour will start telling us more, in greater detail, about what they’ll do if given another four years. Or they may carry on saying nice things illustrated with pretty pictures and hope we’ll be fooled again.

I wrote this last week when asked to produce an example blog for the Today programme, which is recruiting bloggers to cover the election. Wish me luck.

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