Bright Blue’s Green Conservatism Conference will be an opportunity for centre-right politicians, opinion formers, experts, and industry practitioners to discuss and shape future conservative policies and strategy on the environment. 

The conference will be held on Wednesday 1st November 2017 at the British Academy, 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH. There will be keynote speeches by Claire Perry MP (UK Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry) and Lord Deben (Chair of the UK Committee on Climate Change). Four panel sessions will explore: agriculture and CAP reform; strengthening the role of markets in energy; the future of conservation; and energy security in the UK and Europe.

The UK’s climate-sceptic fringe has been emboldened by the election of Donald Trump in the US and by Brexit to argue for weaker environmental protections. There is an urgent need for a countervailing conservative movement arguing in favour of protecting the environment. Environmental issues are too often seen as exclusively the concern of the political left. Not only does this harm the political appeal of conservatism to voters that care about the environment, but it also risks losing vital pro-market voices from environmental policymaking.

Yet Conservatives intuitively understand that each generation has a responsibility to the next to hand on a preserved environmental inheritance. We also understand that concern for the environment is properly rooted in people's concern for and responsibility towards the condition of their local communities. Conservatives in power have a proven track-record of delivering action on the environment. A Conservative Government in the UK led the world in introducing a Clean Air Act in 1956 to tackle urban air pollution. Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher made one of the first major international speeches on climate change to the UN General Assembly in 1989. And David Cameron's Conservative Government announced that it would close the UK's remaining coal-fired power stations.

Following the impact and profile of Bright Blue's Green conservatism project, this conference offers a unique opportunity for delegates to build a network of centre-right environmentalists and to discuss the development of centre-right ideas and policies for protecting the environment. To confirm your attendance, please click here for the Eventbrite page. 

Programme agenda

08:30 Registration

09:00 Introduction from Ben Caldecott (Senior Associate Fellow, Bright Blue)

09:10 A keynote speech from Claire Perry MP (UK Minister for Climate Change and Industry)

09:45 Panel I: Agriculture and CAP reform – Benet Northcote (Director, Corporate Responsibility, John Lewis) (chair); Meurig Raymond (President, National Farmers’ Union); Julie Girling MEP (Spokesperson, Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee); Sam Bowman (Director, Adam Smith Institute)

11:15 Refreshments break

11:45 Panel II: The future of conservation – Ben Caldecott (Senior Associate Fellow, Bright Blue) (chair); Rebecca Pow MP (Parliamentary Private Secretary, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs); Maurice Golden MSP (Spokesperson for the Low-Carbon Economy, Scottish Conservatives); Beccy Speight (CEO, Woodland Trust)

13:15 Networking lunch

14:15 Panel III: Strengthening the role of markets in energy – Sam Hall (Senior Researcher, Bright Blue) (chair); Sara Bell (CEO, Tempus Energy); Laura Sandys (CEO, Challenging Ideas); Paul Massara (CEO, North Star Solar); James Heappey MP (Vice Chair, Energy Storage APPG)

15:45 Refreshments break

16:15 Panel IV: Energy security in the UK and Europe – Rob Bailey (Energy, Environment and Resources Research Director, Chatham House); Rt Hon Sir Oliver Letwin MP (Former Shadow Environment Secretary); Richard Howard (Head of Research, Aurora Energy Research)

17:15 A keynote speech from Lord Deben (Chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change)

17:30 Closing remarks

17:35 Drinks reception

 

Panel discussions

1.    Agriculture and CAP reform

Assessing the effectiveness of agricultural subsidies, and developing a new post-Brexit domestic farming policy that increases agricultural productivity, strengthens rural communities, and improves the natural environment.

Key questions:

  • Should agricultural subsidies continue being paid to farmers post-Brexit?
  • How can farmers be incentivised to provide ecosystem services, such as tree planting?
  • How can the Government use skills and infrastructure policy to boost the agricultural sector?
  • What are the opportunities from Brexit for the farming industry?
  • How can the Government encourage more exports from the agricultural sector?

 

2.    The future of conservation

Evaluating different approaches to preserving and enhancing the state of the natural environment, and understanding the implications of conservation policies across government.

Key questions:

  • What are the benefits of forestry, and how can coverage be increased in the UK?
  • How should conservatives approach tackling the illegal wildlife trade?
  • How can marine reserves be made more effective at protecting the marine environment?
  • Is natural capital a useful framework to drive conservation?
  • Should conservatives support rewilding to reverse the decline in biodiversity?
  • Should the UK adopt and international leadership role to improve global conservation efforts?

 

3.    Strengthening role of markets in energy

Discussing the role of the state and private enterprise in the energy sector, and developing policies that could strengthen private markets, while also cost-effectively tackling climate change.

Key questions:

  • How effective are carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes at encouraging investment in clean energy?
  • Should the government offer taxpayer- or billpayer-funded subsidies to stimulate the early market for clean technologies?
  • How can the government ensure a level playing field for both demand-side and supply-side measures for decarbonisation?
  • Do auctions enable governments to avoid 'picking winners' in the energy sector?
  • How can the UK ensure it is a global leader in selling low-carbon products and services?

 

4. Energy security in the UK and Europe

Examining energy security in the UK and Europe, considering what the implications of Brexit, renewables, non-renewables, and emerging technologies could be. Analysing energy security from an international perspective by considering the politics of the global energy exporters such as Russia and the Middle East. 

  • Is it important for Britain to be more self-sufficient in energy production?
  • What role will renewable energy sources have in the immediate and long-term future of Britain’s energy security?
  • What is the role of domestic shale gas production in improving energy security?
  • What do developments in the US and Qatar mean for the global LNG market?
  • How should a revanchist Russia shift UK and European energy policy?

  

 

Partnership and sponsorship opportunities are still available for this event. Should you be interested in learning more, please contact our Senior Researcher Sam Hall at sam@brightblue.org.uk.