Thursday, November 06, 2008

Labour on energy and climate change

Labour released its climate change and energy policies yesterday, where they were immediately buried beneath the celebration of the US election. It's a shame, because these are key policy areas, and the party's policies on them deserve a lot more attention.

Both policies are continuations of the status quo. On climate change [PDF], Labour would continue to implement the ETS and the current biofuels policy (though this doesn't get much of a mention). They'd invest in public transport to reduce transport emissions, and generally push us towards a less carbon intensive economy. Their energy policy [PDF] is a key to this. The current goal of 90% renewable (and the rest carbon-neutral) electricity by 2025 is retained, as is the existing energy strategy. There's a much stronger push for energy efficiency with the billion dollar household insulation fund now playing a key role (this is to some extent making a virtue of political necessity, as the fund was forced on them by the Greens, but its still good policy). And there's an eye to the future with them promising to play an active role in establishing the required infrastructure for a shift to an electric vehicle fleet as the technology becomes more available. It's a fairly green policy, particularly compared with National's one centred on "sexy coal" and gutting the ETS - but its unlikely to win them many votes. Anyone who really cares about these issues will likely already be voting Green. But it will provide solid ground for cooperation if Labour retains power.