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Mr Cameron: husky-hugging isn’t enough – time to get serious on climate

20 November 2012

Remember the image? It was 2006, and WWF had taken David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, to Svalbard in the Arctic to see the real impacts of climate change for himself.

David Cameron in the Arctic in 2006.

And we were impressed by Mr Cameron’s reaction. He saw the scale and urgency of the problem. He wanted to send a warning message to Britain and the rest of the world.

So he posed for this now famous photograph, the ‘hug-a-husky’ image – which became a shorthand for his concern for the environment, and for a new ‘greener’ Conservative party.

We were also impressed when he gave his backing to the UK’s groundbreaking and world-leading Climate Change Act, passed four years ago this month.

So we had high hopes when Mr Cameron became prime minister. But sadly, as leader of the self-styled “greenest government ever”, he just hasn’t delivered.

In fact he’s gone conspicuously quiet. He hasn’t given a single speech on the environment, energy or climate policy. And he’s allowed other, more sceptical voices in his party (George Osborne and allies for example) to dominate, and to undermine his green pledges.

Despite the fact that green business is one of the few bright spots in the UK economy, the government has created so much uncertainty over renewable energy policy that we’re already losing investment and jobs to other countries.

The longer Mr Cameron stays silent, and fails to assert his authority over the party’s ‘anti-green’ forces, the more he lets them damage his credibility – and bring his leadership into question.

To use a husky analogy, the PM is allowing the country to be dragged in the wrong direction by a rogue pack…

We still believe David Cameron understands the importance of protecting the environment, and how it’s consistent with Conservative values.

But to be frank, he is letting our country down. The PM urgently needs to re-establish the UK as a global leader on tackling climate change – and the first step is to make sure his government speaks with one voice.

We need you to take control, prime minister. Prove to the country, and to the world, that you haven’t gone cold on climate change.


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