One of the many things that makes me proud of Liberal Democrat Ministers in this Government, is the Coalition's commitment to be 'the Greenest Government ever.'
That is, it has to be said, quite a big ask but never before have green policies been more needed than now.
With the economic crisis of 2008 and the historic events over the past year or so with the Arab Spring, and other big news stories and happenings, the environment has largely been off the international agenda and we need to ensure that we keep our promises and pledges...our World will suffer if we do anything less.
That is why I've been disturbed to read reports in this week's newspapers suggesting that the Tory Chancellor, George Osborne, could be attempting to put the brakes on many of the Green initiatives launched by our excellent Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne.
On Wednesday, The Independent highlighted ten pledges which, it claimed, were being put at risk by Mr Osborne who, it was suggested, is the leading member of 'an increasingly influential faction within the Cabinet willing to sacrifice green policies if doing so is deemed helpful to economic growth.
They included pledges on the Green Investment Bank, Eco-homes, and illegal tropical timber.
I have long-since been a Campaigner on Green issues and was proud when-at our recent Federal Conference in Birmingham-Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:
"And we've stood by our commitment to act on the environment. Now, the pollsters tell us that Climate Change has dropped down people's list of worries, that people have more immediate concerns and I understand that.
So the politically convenient thing would have been to put this off to another day.
Instead, we have acted immediately. Not easy, but right.
Ambitious carbon targets, energy market reform, Council's generating renewable energy, a green deal to make bills lower and homes warmer, carbon capture and storage, green buses, trains and trams.
The World's first ever Green Investment Bank.
Green achievements from a Green party of Government."
This got, rightly, one of the biggest cheers of Nick's whole speech.
Why? Because we Liberal Democrats have cared about acting on the environment since our Party was founded.
We've been at the forefront of Green issues for far longer than either of the two other major parties.
We are now-as Nick says-a Green party of Government and we cannot allow the likes of George Osborne to de-rail that process.
Of course sorting out the economy is a major priority for this Government, but that must never come at the expense of doing all we can as a nation to make sure we stick to our pledges, that we take action, and that we live up to the rhetoric (and, remember, it was David Cameron who said it) of this Coalition being 'the Greenest Government ever.'
If we fail to deliver on the environmental agenda as a Government, then many of us will be asking ever more serious questions about whether the Liberal Democrats can realistically stay in this Coalition...and I say that as a big supporter of it.
So, to show how serious I am and my commitment to the cause, I'm going to be joining the Green Liberal Democrats, which are a campaigning group within the Federal Party.
We need to make sure we continue to put pressure on our Ministers and support our Secretary of State Chris Huhne as he works day in, day out to drive these vital changes through.
As for George Osborne, well he just needs to know that we will not accept him trying to stop his own Government from meeting its Green pledges, which are important and right not only morally but practically.
We may be, in comparison to the likes of the United States and China, a relatively small polluter, but-if we fail to ask-we'll lose all moral authority to call on others to act, too.
On a local level, how can the party ask people to take further measures in terms of being greener in the home, if we can't be seen to be doing the same on a larger scale?
This is an issue of social justice too, as the effects of catastrophic Climate Change will and already are being felt by the poorest first and the most.
So, let's stick to our principles and our pledges, let's make this the 'Greenest Government ever,' and let's make our voices heard on behalf of those who have no voice.
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