This morning I've had an article, written with Chris Pope from the American Enterprise Institute, published at The American. It sets out how the current political success of the David Cameron-led Conservative Party isn't based on an embrace of environmentalism:
"The recent success of the Conservative Party has owed little to quixotic environmentalism, and almost every Tory attempt to play the green card has been a disaster. The party seems to have learned its lesson, and is now embracing a results-driven conservation policy that defends green spaces and promotes the development of efficient clean-energy technologies. While the climate debate is often dominated by clamorous activists, ordinary voters tend to favor a more pragmatic approach. If the Tories want to maintain their huge lead over Labour, that is the type of approach they should endorse."
It would be a real mistake to look at the Tories' current opinion poll lead and forget the lessons learned while getting to that, enviable, position. Major interventions in the economy designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions have not been popular. When the Quality of Life Policy Group's report came out it was a public relations disaster, it was the promise of an inheritance tax cut that improved the Conservatives' fortunes. Attempts by both parties to wrap themselves in the green banner have a dismal record of proving unpopular and, when translated into policy, ineffective. Future environmental policy will need to be more considered and pragmatic.