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The UK Election: How do the main parties shape up on the climate?

1st Jul, 2024

Since the Prime Minister announced a general election will take place on 4th July, it has been full steam ahead on the campaign front, with all major political parties launching their manifestos. But what does this mean for climate change and energy?

A recent poll by YouGov reveals that the environment and climate change rank as the fifth most crucial issue for voters, following the cost of living, health, the economy, and immigration and asylum. This highlights the growing importance of sustainability and the net zero transition among the political electorate.

All major political parties in the UK are united in supporting the net zero climate goal. As the election approaches, they are addressing this target from unique perspectives. The Conservatives are emphasising cutting the costs of net zero for consumers with a more “pragmatic approach”, while Labour is focusing on the benefits of making the UK a clean energy “superpower”. With different levels of detail and funding commitments, Michael Williams analyses how each party is shaping the conversation around this crucial goal.


Beginning with the party ahead in the polls, the Labour Party has been heavy on promoting their ‘Great British Energy’ plans, a proposed new publicly-owned clean power company headquartered in Scotland. The party has recently clarified that GB Energy will not be an energy retail company but will generate power in its own right, alongside private firms, with £8.3 billion in funding.

Labour has also pledged to:

  • Double onshore wind capacity, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030, aiming for 100% zero-carbon electricity.
  • Allocate £500 million to support the manufacturing of green hydrogen.
  • Establish a new Energy Independence Act, the framework for Labour’s energy and climate policies.
  • Invest an extra £6.6 billion in upgrading 5 million homes for energy efficiency through their Warm Homes plan, offering grants and low-interest loans for insulation, solar panels, batteries, and low carbon heating.
  • Close windfall tax loopholes on oil and gas companies to support clean energy investment.
  • Create up to 650,000 new jobs by 2030 by, introducing a British jobs bonus to incentivise clean energy developers.
  • Support a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and will create a Clean Power Alliance for international collaboration.
  • Restore the 2030 ban on new internal combustion engine vehicles and reduce aviation emissions with a new frequent flyer levy. No commitment was made to reinstate the 2030 phase-out date for fossil fuel boilers.


The Conservatives have outlined their climate policies ahead of the upcoming election, focusing on building upon existing initiatives.

Recent measures and commitments include:

  • Increased grant funding for low carbon heat pump installations and financial assistance to tackle high energy bills.
  • Plans to reform the Climate Change Committee, including mandating it to consider the costs of climate advice to UK energy security and households.
  • Invest £6 billion over the next three years to upgrade homes to energy efficiency Band C or above.
  • Create an energy efficiency voucher scheme available to all UK households for installing energy efficiency measures.
  • The phase-out date for fossil fuel boilers and internal combustion engine vehicles has been extended to 2035.
  • The party also commits to a windfall tax on oil and gas firms until 2028-29, tripling offshore wind capacity, and introducing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism in 2027.

The Liberal Democrats

Sir Ed Davey of the Liberal Democrats is generating headlines with his unconventional campaign strategies. But what exactly is the party proposing in their election campaign? Here are the key highlights:

  • A commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045.
  • Pledge to have 90% of the UK’s electricity generated from renewables by 2030.
  • Providing free retrofits for low-income homes and offering tax incentives for energy reduction in other households.
  • Decoupling electricity prices from the wholesale gas price and ensuring all new homes and buildings are zero-carbon.
  • Establishing a Chief Secretary for Sustainability and citizens’ assemblies to involve the public in climate change efforts.
  • Introducing a Lifelong Skills Grant for adult education and training.
  • Encouraging electric vehicle adoption through infrastructure development, VAT reduction, and bank card accessibility for charging points.
  • Investment in green hydrogen, holding businesses accountable for climate change, and supporting carbon capture and storage to reduce industrial emissions.

The Green Party

The Green Party will be keen to highlight their green credentials in the run up to the election, hoping to make this front and centre of political debate. Here are some of their pledges:

  • Cancel recent fossil fuel licenses, halt extraction projects, and eliminate oil and gas subsidies while phasing out nuclear energy. By 2030, they aim for wind to generate 70% of the UK’s electricity.
  • Provide £29 billion over the next five years to insulate homes to an EPC B standard or above as part of a ten-year programme, and £4 billion to insulate other buildings. £9 billion will be allocated for low-carbon heating systems for homes and other buildings.
  • Introduce a carbon tax to drive out fossil fuels and pave the way for a greener future.
  • Invest £12.4 billion in skills and training, equipping workers to play a full role in the green economy.
  • End sewage discharges and bring water companies back into public ownership to tackle environmental issues.

Scottish National Party

With 63 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, all eyes are on the Scottish National Party (SNP)’s manifesto commitments in Scotland following John Swinney’s appointment as First Minister earlier this year. The SNP plans to ensure fair funding to devolved nations and establish a Four Nations Climate Response Group to agree on climate plans across the UK.

Here’s what the party has promised:

  • A single fuel poverty scheme by combining the Warm Home Discount and Energy Company obligation
  • Action to  promote Scotland’s hydrogen export potential, supporting a direct interconnection between Scotland and Europe. They will demand the devolution of powers over energy regulation, pricing and production, and call for a statutory social tariff for energy charges for all those in need.
  • An aim to secure the fastest deployment of the Acorn Project and Scottish Cluster project for industrial decarbonisation, focusing on carbon capture, utilisation, and storage while ruling out new nuclear power plants. Renewables, storage, hydrogen, and carbon capture take priority.
  • A ban on the sale of new, non-zero-emission buses by 2025, advocating for public ownership of rail services, and backing sustainable fuels in maritime and aviation. They plan to enhance incentives for cleaner vehicle purchases, including establishing a Low-Income EV Car Leasing Fund supported by at least £500 million.

Gemserv has played a key role working with the Government to make the most of the low carbon opportunity, from energy production to heat pumps and hydrogen to electric vehicles. With the election just days away, Gemserv is gearing up to continue our vital work with whichever party is elected at the general election, ensuring we harness the opportunities available to decarbonise energy and reach our Net Zero targets.



Michael Williams

Content Developer

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