NGOs and campaigners have given a mixed reaction to the Prime Minister's promise that his administration will be Britain's “greenest government ever”. David Cameron pledged to cut the government's own emissions by 10 per cent.
The World Development Movement (WDM) welcomed “the sentiment behind the announcement”, but described themselves as “sceptical”.
WDM Director Deborah Doane said, “Whilst it's welcome that central government has pledged to cut its emissions by 10 per cent, history will judge this government on its green credentials - by its policies to cut the UK’s emissions dramatically and getting a fair international climate deal, not by turning off its lights at night”.
In a reference to the parties that make up the new coalition government, she added, “Any suggestion that blue and yellow means green government are premature because there are so many unanswered questions about the policies.”
WDM are pleased that the government has pledged to stop further airport expansion in London, but they have called on ministers to clarify their position on airports in the rest of the UK. And Doane repeated her call for an end to unethical investments by the Royal Bank of Scotland, in which the taxpayer owns the majority stake.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said, “We welcome Mr Cameron's pledge that the new Government will be the greenest ever - we urgently need to build a new low carbon economy out of the rubble of the old”.
But he added, “The starting point must be a more ambitious target for tackling climate change”.
Atkins urged the new coalition government to agree to cut UK emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 without offsetting. Friends of the Earth point out that scientific experts say this is the minimum needed for the UK to play its fair part in preventing dangerous climate change.
"To deliver these cuts, we also need local carbon budgets to ensure that councils play their part in cutting emissions,” added Atkins, “And a new law to cut greenhouse gases caused by the UK's dependence on imported feeds for meat and dairy."