Bright Blue’s Green conservatism conference will be an opportunity for centre-right politicians, opinion formers, experts, and industry practitioners to discuss and shape the future conservative policies and strategy on the environment.
The conference will be held in the summer of 2017 in Westminster. There will be two keynote speeches, one delivered by Nick Hurd MP (Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry) and the other by Lord Deben (Chair of the Committee on Climate Change). Three panel sessions will explore the future of agriculture, strengthening energy markets, and rethinking conservation, with a range of influential centre-right decision makers and opinion formers as speakers.
As the UK's centre-right climate-sceptic fringe is emboldened by the election of Donald Trump in the US, there is an urgent need for a countervailing conservative movement arguing in favour of protecting the environment. Increasingly concern for the environment is seen exclusively as 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 policy-making.
Yet Conservatives intuitively understand that each generation has a responsibility to the next generation 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 pollution. Conservative leaders, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, led the international community to sign the Montreal Protocol in 1987 to reduce levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere.
There are three suggested key areas where green conservatives can be influential in shaping the political narrative on the environment:
- The future of agriculture. Assessing the effectiveness of agricultural subsidies, and developing a new domestic farming policy that increases agricultural productivity and improves the natural environment.
- Strengthening energy markets. 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.
- Rethinking conservation. Evaluating different approaches to preserving and enhancing the state of the natural environment, and understanding the implications of conservation policies across government departments.
Following the impact and profile of our Green conservatism project, Bright Blue’s international 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.