We already know that alternative conservative views on climate change are possible, and that conservative ideals can sometimes deliver on liberal green goals.
Yet even the UK Conservative Party, which has traditionally held a much more reality-based view on climate change and renewables than its American counterpart, has recently veered toward a fossil-fuel driven business-as-usual model for economic growth. (The most recent case in point being the lifting of a ban on shale gas fracking.)But there are dissenting voices, even among Conservative ranks. Business Green reports that Conservative Member of Parliament Tim Yeo has delivered a blistering attack on the Government for muddying the waters on CO2 targets, arguing that it takes the country in the wrong direction and only puts off the inevitable:
"Lumbering the UK economy with a centralised power system largely reliant on gas, would be like running an office using a fax machine in the age of the iPad," he said. "Gas does have a significant role to play as we make the transition to a low carbon economy, but it would be rash to bet the future on one fuel or energy source. It is time to upgrade our electricity system to 2.0."
Yeo is proposing an amendment to the UK's recent contentious Energy Bill that will include binding CO2 targets for power stations. Given that opposition Labour MPs already support the amendment, and that coalition Liberal Democrats will be under immense pressure to do the same, it won't take too many greener Conservatives to pass it and solidify the UK's commitment to a truly forward-thinking energy path.
It's yet another sign that the original compromise on the Energy Bill may have been a savvy political victory for renewables. The tide is shifting toward a smarter, cleaner and more progressive energy policy. It's just a question of whether we can make it shift fast enough.