Upcoming UK Parliamentary General Elections Has Significance for Climate Policy

The pivotal upcoming events in the United Kingdom’s political landscape are the General Elections, held every five years to elect members of the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament. The Prime Minister emerges as the party’s leader, securing the most seats in the House of Commons. Since the current Parliament convened on December 17, 2019, it is set to automatically dissolve on December 17, 2024, paving the way for the next United Kingdom general election no later than January 28, 2025. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hinted at calling the election in the latter half of 2024.

General Elections are of immense significance. They determine the party that will form the government and shape policy agendas across crucial sectors for the subsequent five years, encompassing the economy, healthcare, education, foreign policy, and, notably, climate change and environmental issues.

As prospective parliamentary candidates are in the process of selection for the impending UK general election, the major political players include the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, the Scottish National Party (SNP), and the Green Party. Each party will present manifestos outlining their stances on critical matters, particularly climate change. For instance, Labour aims for a complete transition to clean power by 2030, doubling onshore wind capacity to 35 GW and aligning with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. They have also committed to a post-COP28 decarbonization strategy, pledging approximately £5 billion.

The Conservative Party, on the other hand, has announced a transition to electric vehicles by 2030 and expressed support for new oil and gas initiatives in the North Sea to reduce dependence on foreign imports. However, their commitment to banning the sale of oil, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), and new coal heating for off-gas-grid homes has been extended to 2035. While all parties express support for the Paris Agreement and agreements post-COP28, historically, Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens, and SNP have been more progressive on climate policies.

Political parties and candidates rely on donations from individuals, businesses, and interest groups across diverse demographics and regions. Noteworthy contributions to the Labour Party come from David Sainsbury, a Labour peer since 1997 and scion of the supermarket dynasty, who donates a substantial amount annually. For the Conservative Party, Egyptian-born billionaire Mohamed Mansour, a former Hosni Mubarak’s government minister, is the most prominent single backer, contributing £5 million in May. It’s worth noting that the Conservative Party has also received financial support from fossil fuel companies like Tailwind Energy, raising questions about their stance on robust climate action.

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard UK Country Manager Leo Owen.


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