CANDIDATES

Thank you to all the candidates who completed the survey.

 

The puffin ratings below are based on their answers to the multiple choice questions we posed to them across three key issues, with four green puffins indicating the best answer down to 1 green puffin indicating the least environmentally friendly option. We did not factor the candidates' free form text answers (visible by clicking 'Read More' to get to their candidate page) into the ratings.

Candidates who did not engage with the survey received zero green puffins.

The States questions also contain informative environmental responses for some candidates:

https://election2020.gg/candidates/answers

Which statement best aligns to your views on the climate crisis?

We should take further steps to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions where it's practical and in Guernsey's interests to do so.

Please let us know more about your perspective on the climate crisis in your own words.

We must respect the environment as a long-term asset. People rightly criticise States borrowing for the burden it will pass on to our children and grandchildren but reckless environmental policies will have the same effect. We are consuming what belongs to the future. In the case of climate change, we are knowingly exposing future generations to significant harms by refusing to make modest changes to our own lifestyles. Rational people respond to prices, and rational prices should reflect the true “social cost” of any activity. However green taxes are a regressive form of tax and thus the impact for the less well-off needs to be considered. Pollution taxes, particularly on carbon emissions, would encourage cost effective conservation; consumers and companies can respond in whatever ways makes the most economic sense to them. Any tax on pollution would also make cleaner sources of energy more economically viable. The market is a powerful mechanism for creating sane environmental policies - if we give participants the right price signals, which we have failed to do so far. However, Guernsey does not need to lead the way or try and be the gold standard, our environmental policy/impact will be dictated by what happens in the UK and EU (designs and efficiency are determined in their legislation) we just need to be sure we won’t be a dumping ground for environmentally unfriendly products. Fundamentally we need a clear understanding of what carbon-neutral means to the Island. How is it calculated – for example does it include transport of people/freight to and from the Island? The disposal of our waste abroad? Visiting cruise ships? International flights taken by locals? The production of goods imported into the Island? The environmental impact elsewhere in the world from making any changes? This is the first step in determining what target we are aiming for – I don’t believe this is straightforward and certainly not easy. I am wary of the carbon credits systems – this seems to be a money-making exercise by the men in the middle and very difficult to determine that all the money they take is actually used for the purposes they say it is. I would prefer that any policy that had this concept of paying to pollute was kept local i.e. used to subsidise electric cars/bikes or solar panels for the less well off in the Island – or even invested in tidal energy or trials of electric planes (which would be feasible for flights between the islands). Sadly, there is a lot of “virtue signalling” around the environment – it’s seems ok to use a bicycle and criticise car users but this judgement doesn’t take into account the individuals whole carbon footprint e.g. one long distance flight is greater than any person’s annual car use in Guernsey. The production of electric vehicles isn’t as environmentally friendly as we are led to believe – we’ve just moved the problem to other countries. We need to be wary of investing too much too soon in electric vehicle technology. Do we have enough capacity to generate all the power needed to be entirely electric (and how exposed would we be to a power cut)? It may be that hydrogen fuel cells or some other technology will eventually be the way forward. Renewable Energy: New builds should include solar panels and small wind turbines (helix designs are fairly unobtrusive) and brown water recycling wherever possible. If we ever build a deep-water berth, tidal power should be incorporated into its design.

BIODIVERSITY LOSS

Which statement best aligns to your views on the challenges being faced by local biodiversity?

I believe the States need to prioritise Guernsey's biodiversity, and should invest more funding in protecting it where possible.

Please let us know more about your views on the challenges faced by local biodiversity in your own words.

I would propose the actions be taken to protect our biodiversity: 1. Create a Marine Conservation Zone on the West Coast to incorporate the Sea Bass breeding grounds. The fish population requires protection and a marine reserve would give the population the chance to mature and increase. I would compensate fisherman with tapered payments over five years. After five years the fish and crustacean population should have recovered enough to make fishing outside of the reserve viable. I would also sink boats around the outskirts and within the reserve to protect it from illegal trawling and create opportunities for recreational wreck fishing on the outskirts and diving within the reserve. As fish are economically a “common good” (i.e. no one owns them), the cost of this could come from the Overseas Aid Budget as by preserving and increasing fish stocks we are helping the whole sea fishing industry. 2. Investigate organic farming as an island wide initiative. Guernsey has the ability to become completely organic. This would need discussions with the farming community but with the benefits for both farmers and the wider community becoming more widely accepted I hope this would be viable. We should gather seaweed to use as a fertiliser to start reducing our need for man-made alternatives. I don’t believe in subsidies, but the States must support the dairy industry and protect the Guernsey Cow. 3. Object to using Green field sites for building. Every green field site we build on today is lost forever for future generations. We must target brown field sites and derelict dwellings as starting points for development. The green field sites in the North of the Island are particularly important, not only for our wellbeing but for wildlife I also propose a tax on empty/derelict dwellings so that a valuable resource such as land/housing is not left idle. 4. Investigate land reclamation to ease pressure on land. I see this as a long term project so the sooner we start the sooner we will be able to relief some of the pressures on our land. It would also be linked to the waste strategy by baling inert waste to create the landfill.

CLIMATE EQUITY

Transitioning to a greener economy could result in major, potentially unequal, social and economic impacts. Which statement best reflects your view of how these should be managed?

Climate action, economic and social justice are closely linked. I would strongly support equitable policies which don't put the financial burden of climate change on lower- and middle-income households.

Please let us know more about your perspective on climate equity and transitioning to a greener economy in your own words.

I don’t believe Guernsey should be leading the way but looking to cherry pick what works elsewhere in similar small hilly areas. As previously mentioned, there is some hypocrisy around the issue where bicycle users criticise car users but this judgement doesn’t take into account the individuals whole carbon footprint e.g. one long distance flight is greater than any person’s annual car use in Guernsey. The richer you are the bigger carbon footprint you usually have – yet they seem to want the less well-off to pay a significantly greater proportion of their income in the form of green taxes because they cannot afford to purchase new, more efficient items on a regular basis. The more affluent can afford to be the early adopters of technology such as electric cars and thus have avoided the environmental tax on fuel as well as avoiding paying for the environmental cost of their production (which is far higher than that of a petrol car – it is estimated that the electric VW Golf has to do 75,000 miles to break even because of the emissions from production). It is also nuanced – as half of a cars lifetime footprint is from its manufacture, the environmental cost of buying a new electric car and scrapping a petrol car compared to sticking with the (properly serviced) petrol car for another 10 years, would be the least environmentally friendly option. We also don’t know what the environmental impact of replacing and scrapping electric car batteries will be. Individuals will effectively need to have a carbon audit of their lifestyle The question everyone needs to ask is what am I willing to sacrifice to reduce my carbon footprint. It’s easy to talk green (or adopt things such as electric bikes that suit your lifestyle) and request others to do things that carry no personal cost to yourself (tax fuel because you’ve got an electric bike or can easily afford it). But the question is whether you and others are prepared to make personal sacrifices (the regular holiday(s) abroad which is something you “can’t do without”) to achieve the goals of environmental improvement. These are the tough decisions that people will need to make in changing their lifestyle. Ultimately, it needs to be led by the younger generation, they will have to decide to reject consumerism (new phones, new clothes etc and not judge those that don’t have new things or continue to wear the same clothes regularly), not take a gap year travelling the world and instead invest their money ethically. But will enough of them be prepared to walk the walk?

THE NEXT 4 YEARS

Where the environment is concerned, what outcomes do you think the States should achieve in the next four years, in your own words?

There are some relatively straightforward actions that involve little or no cost: 1. Create a Marine Conservation Zone on the West Coast to incorporate the Sea Bass breeding grounds. 2. Investigate organic farming as an island wide initiative. 3. Stop using Green field sites for building. 4. Introduce a tax on empty/derelict dwellings so that a valuable resource such as land/housing is not left idle. 4. Investigate land reclamation to ease pressure on land. 5. Include baling inert waste for use as landfill in a new waste strategy. 6. Tax on marine fuel. Other matters that will need some time to agree / implement include: Review planning laws to encourage new builds to incorporate solar, wind and brown water recycling as well as designing space to include batteries to store the electricity generated. As well as making the additional of renewables easier on existing buildings – including being less precious about preserving wooden windows rather than the more efficient double glazing. We don’t have the space for dedicated cycle lanes - but I would suggest that the Environment Committee and Planning should work together when there are new builds or a wall is to be rebuilt – I’m sure some landowners would cede some of their land if the States paid for the wall to be built (a win-win situation?). It may not be enough width for a dedicated cycle path, but a wider road should make cycling more pleasant as motorists will have more room to overtake and thus ease the “conflict” between road users. I also propose that the West Coast path be widened and extended to allow both walkers and cyclists to use it for greater lengths of the West Coast. I also think the Environment should have worked with Health to target electric bike subsidies to those less-well off in poorer health (unfortunately there is often a link) to encourage a more active lifestyle again a potential win-win. I think we will need to consider more "green" taxes (however, these are a regressive form of tax and the impact on the less well-off needs to be considered). I would like to see full fibre broadband connectivity so that working from home is a more viable option.

Cave, Neil

Independent

CLIMATE CHANGE

© 2020 Standing Up For Guernsey's Environment

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