A toxic plot in the Conservative party?

I watched Greenpeace's brilliant undercover video this week with a real mixture of emotions.

On the one hand, I was impressed at the hidden camera expose, pleased we've now got evidence of the real agenda of bankbench Conservative MPs to undermine action on climate change and frankly delighted that the world can see the constant behind-the-scenes shenanigans and jockeying for position that afflict modern politicians of all parties (and which is so unedifying, self-serving and damaging).

But on the other hand, I was profoundly depressed. Depressed that so much is being done to undermine the Climate Change Act. Depressed that the Conservatives who were once apparently so supportive of action on the climate have done a u-turn. And depressed that, as the evidence mounts daily that urgent action to tackle climate change is needed, here in the UK we seem determined to stick our fingers in our ears like a miscreant child, repeating to ourselves "I'm not listening, I'm not listening."

At WDM we campaigned hard along with many others for the Climate Change Act which became law in 2008, because it's the poorest people in the world who will suffer the most from the impacts of climate change (the people furthest removed from Cameron's Eton pals, as it happens). And with more and more people suggesting that recent weather events like Hurricane Sandy have been made worse by global warming, the need to take action fast is increasingly at odds with government inaction.

Many commentators have been saying we need more leadership from David Cameron. But as well as leadership, we really need some honesty as well.

Cameron needs either to admit he doesn't take climate change seriously (which is why he's given a cabinet post to climate sceptic Owen Paterson and a ministerial job to wind farm hater John Hayes), or must admit that he's done these things just to keep his braying backbenchers placated. Either way, serious damage is being done to any remaining leadership the UK can claim on tackling climate and energy issues. The UN climate talks starting later this month in Doha would be a good time for this government to start rectifying that.

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