Manifesto Analysis: UKIP

As the second manifesto to be analysed, UKIP’s is running against the general consensus that climate change must be combated and a need to shift towards a zero-emission energy production . The underlying philosophy is very straightforward: there is a need for a diverse energy production, ranging from coal, gas (conventional and from fracking) to solar, hydro and nuclear, however only where these can be delivered at competitive prices. Given its rejection of climate change as a significant issue most of its policies run counter to conventional wisdom in the field.

Key policies:

– Massive investments into UK coal mines and power plants and remove any levying schemes that are linked with Carbon Capture & Storage;

– Green taxes and levies, especially in regards to coal, should be lifted and thus allow coal ‘a level playing field’ with other energy sources;

– All subsides on wind and solar power would be dropped;

– Pro-fracking;

– The repeal of the Climate Change Act (on the grounds that it is too expensive and ineffective);

– Altogether abolish the DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change, created by Gordon Brown in 2009);

– Withdrawing the UK from the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme.

Find the UKIP manifesto here 

Analysis:

UKIP probably takes the price for the party with the most anti-environmental policies out of the six that are being analysed. The underlying philosophy is very clear – climate change does not really exist and measurements taken to reduce carbon emissions has simply been damaging to business without any real impact on the environment. Whilst there might have been certain exaggeration regarding climate change and the pace the planet is heating, to then claim that climate change is a hoax would be ignorant to an extremely dangerous degree. The underlying philosophy is straightforward – diverse energy- and electricity production but only if it is competitive. The removal of any subsidies for solar and wind is a logical extension of the philosophy. Their investments into UK coal would probably allow for greater energy security and a removal/heavy reduction of green levies and taxes would probably lead to a reduction in energy bills, but to what cost In the long run lead to great environmental damage, not only in terms of greenhouse gases but also locally, as coal is damaging to the local environment.

They want to repeal the Climate Change Act due to being expensive and inefficient and whilst I agree that it has weaknesses, reform is the best way forward. The costs to the UK if we did not address climate change would dwarf any costs that the Act might incur on taxpayers and businesses alike. The UK’s withdrawal from the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) could be seen as an anti-Brussels policy, but there is more to this idea than what might initially be seen. The ETS was hailed as a flagship policy that would cement the EU’s role as a leading force against climate change. However the system has failed and requires fundamental reform in order for it to work as it was originally designed to do. Withdrawal would not have a major impact on the UK, but would make sense keeping in mind UKIP’s intention to increase CO2 emissions in the UK heavily.

In short, this manifesto is violently anti-climate change. If implemented it would cause significant damage to the UK’s credibility as a leading nation in combating climate change. Whilst coal power might play a short-term role in the transition towards a decarbonised future (thanks mainly to CCS) is must be emphasised that coal is unsustainable and must be phased out in order for real progress to be made. UKIP is certainly not the answer from an energy or environmental perspective.

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John Lindberg 32 Articles
John Lindberg is a former policy adviser to Sir Jamie McGrigor MSP and a self-declared science geek. His main interests are energy and environmental issues, with a burning passion for nuclear power. He recently graduated with a First from the University of Glasgow, MA (Hons) in Politics.

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