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Needs must: should the environment trump prosperity?

Needs must: should the environment trump prosperity?

Clive Soley

26 February 2010


The need to reduce carbon emissions while protecting jobs and prosperity is a key challenge for progressive politicians, both practically and ideologically.

Using opposition to the third runway at Heathrow as a case-in-point, Clive Soley argues that the adoption of negative policies which impinge on individual choice and quality of life are counter-productive and electorally damaging. To lead a low-carbon transition social democrats must facilitate technological innovation and encourage lifestyle changes through incentives and financial inducements, not suffering and sacrifice.

Clive Soley is a member of the House of Lords. He is also the campaign director for Future Heathrow – a coalition of trade unions, business, airlines and professional associations campaigning for a modernised Heathrow with a third runway operating within the strict environmental restrictions laid down by the government and the EU.

Essay series: climate change: the challenge for social democracy

The urgent challenge of climate change poses a significant test for democratic politics.

New growth models, taxation, energy prices, access to transport, global governance and the implications for social justice are only some of key issues at stake. In the wake of Copenhagen's failure and as public support for dramatic emissions cuts wanes, the progressive reaction must be to sharpen our policy and political arguments in order to create a new, legitimate climate politics.

This new Policy Network essay series aims to shape this debate through informed critique and fresh thinking. Each piece provides a different perspective on how to overcome the present impasse and secure public support for equitable, just and effective climate change policies.

Rethinking climate change strategy for national governments (Stephen Hale)

Regrets, they’ve had a few: where now for climate politics? (Jürgen Krönig)

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