Cameron targets carbon cuts

David Cameron speaks to Friends of the Earth campaigner, Katie Elliott on his way to the Eden Project in Cornwall.

David Cameron has been busy showing off his green side recently. Katie Elliot caught up with him before his speech about climate change at the Eden Project.

How high on your list of priorities is the environment?

Very high - So many other agendas will simply be impossible if we don't actually tackle climate change.

Carbon dioxide emissions have risen since Labour came into power. Why?

[The Government] did the right thing in terms of setting targets...but the problem is they haven't actually done very much to bring about changes.

In 2003 Britain was the dirty man of Europe with the largest increase in carbon emissions. So, good rhetoric, bad record. Not an unfamiliar mantra with this Government.

David Cameron, Shadow Education Secretary

How can the Opposition help the Government get back on track?

There is a real opportunity for cross-party working. If we can agree [on] some of the individual steps and take them out of politics then you would see real progress.

That's the sort of "new politics" I would offer the Government in return for a pledge to deal with this issue.

Do you support our campaign for annual cuts in carbon dioxide levels?

It's [easy] to set the target for 2010 and get a great headline when you do so, the much more difficult thing is the year-on-year progress towards it.

What we need is an independent statutory framework...that's what Friends of the Earth are talking about, and I think that is the right approach.

David Cameron, Shadow Education Secretary

So we should set more short term targets?

Yes, we should because if we don't show some progress we simply won't meet the 2010 target.

The next part of the solution is actually agreeing to some things that will make a difference. That's where I think there will be an additional need to take some of those [proposals] out of politics.

What steps do you take to cut down on your own carbon emissions?

I'm trying to get better at all the things that you need to do - whether its not leaving the computer on standby [or] switching out the lights.

We could all do more, and I would not paint myself as some sort of environmental saint.

David Cameron, Shadow Education Secretary.

I cycle to work - not as often as I should but more than I used to.

Listen to the full interview (MP3).

More information

To find out more about David Cameron's environmental policies and his views on global warming, you can read:


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