David Cameron Goes for Green Vote
LONDON - In a bid to boost his "green" credentials, Conservative leader David Cameron pledged on Friday to scrap the tax on British industry's use of energy and replace it with a more efficient system.
Cameron, who has made the environment a priority since he took over last December, said he would drop the Climate Change Levy in favour of a tariff which focuses on carbon emissions rather than energy use.
The 39-year-old was speaking in Norway, where he has travelled to witness first-hand the effects of global warming. Critics have called the trip a stunt and nothing more than an expensive photo opportunity.
"Tackling climate change is a key part of my ambition for the Conservative Party to lead a new green revolution," Cameron said.
"I want to recapture climate change from the pessimists. Of course it presents huge challenges. Of course the issues are complex. Of course it will require us to change.
"But when I think about climate change and our response to it, I don't think of doom and gloom, costs and sacrifice. I think of a cleaner, greener world for our children to enjoy and inherit."
Cameron added that his party must not be afraid of using the tax system and market mechanisms to encourage clean new technologies.
The Conservative party has always objected to the Climate Change Levy since it was introduced in 2001, prompting the Labour party to say their opponents were not ready to make the difficult decisions about how to safeguard the environment.
"It is not enough to draft a speech on the back of a fag packet on a dog-sleigh to Norway," the Guardian newspaper quoted a source from Chancellor Gordon Brown's circle as saying.
Cameron, who became the Conservatives' fifth leader in eight years following three election defeats to the Labour party, has focused on issues such as the environment rather than traditional Tory issues like crime and immigration in a bid to change the party's image.
But critics argue that after four months in the job, his announcements are still thin on detail.
There is a review of recent tory posturing on climate change here.