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:
Which statement best aligns to your views on the climate crisis?
We should reach net zero carbon emissions as early as possible (and no later than 2040), and take this opportunity to transform Guernsey into a climate leader and innovator.
Please let us know more about your perspective on the climate crisis in your own words.
"Failure of climate change mitigation and action" is the number one risk by impact and number two (after "extreme weather") by likelihood in the World Economic Forum's latest Global Risks Report; biodiversity loss is identified as the second biggest risk by impact and the third most likely. These issues - along with a host of related environmental risks - have critical implications for the global economy and for communities around the world, including Guernsey. I'm glad to have played a key role in shaping and bringing our Climate Change Policy to the States, but the next step - putting the Action Plan into action - is now crucial. It will require political will and focus, and the ability to work with the community. 2050 is not the year we are aiming to reach net zero: it is the latest possible date we can do so. The actual timeline will be shaped by the community: the States' decisions on individual measures will be informed by direct community input through the citizens' assembly and other means of engagement, so if the community thinks it is possible to reach that target sooner then the policy very much supports that. My personal view is that 2040 or earlier is absolutely achievable - if the community gets behind it. That community involvement is crucial because we don't have time to faff around experimenting with measures that will not have enough community support. We need to put effective measures in place as quickly as possible - which is why it needs to be very much a collective conversation between government, the community and businesses.
Which statement best aligns to your views on the challenges being faced by local biodiversity?
I believe urgent action is needed to save Guernsey's biodiversity, and the States should immediately invest more funding to protect it, introducing new legislation as appropriate.
Please let us know more about your views on the challenges faced by local biodiversity in your own words.
The data we have paint a stark picture of biodiversity loss in Guernsey: the declines we have experienced over the last few decades in particular are breathtakingly steep across all kinds of species. It is impossible to overstate how fundamentally important our biodiversity is to our quality of life: not only does it provide vital "ecosystem services" like purifying our air and preventing erosion and floods, but it also supports our health and wellbeing (especially our mental health) by forming such a central part of what makes Guernsey a good place to live. The problems we face here in the Bailiwick are not unique to us: as the 2019 IPBES report made clear, this is a problem being experienced all over the world, with very worrying consequences. The main causes globally (and probably locally too) are habitat loss through land use pressures (e.g. development), direct exploitation (e.g. overfishing), climate change, pollution, and invasive non-native species (e.g. Asian Hornet and Sour Fig). The good news is that although it's a global problem, the solution is very much local: local action makes all the difference. In Guernsey there are some clear ways forward: natural capital accounting will ascribe a value to nature that means it will be taken into proper consideration in States decisions; biodiversity net gain will do the same in planning processes and guard against incremental habitat loss; prioritising local carbon sequestration opportunities (as per our Climate Change Policy) will facilitate direct investment in nature and environmental projects; a more circular economy will support local growing using sustainable techniques and resulting in more nutritious food; developing legislation to better protect our environment will provide a stronger basis on which to extend environmental protections in, for example, our planning law. The Strategy for Nature is the gateway through which we should be able to properly justify meaningful States investment, giving the third sector proper support for the first time, as well as raising awareness within government and the general public of the various issues we face. I'm also particularly excited by the possibility of a Centre for Nature that could be a fantastic focal point for scientific research and the enhancement of our natural environment. We need to take much better care of it before it's too late, and the States needs to put its money where its mouth is. Please choose candidates who are prepared to pay more than lip service to our natural environment. There's no time to waste!
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?
We can do more than just avoid unfairness - we can and should use climate action as an opportunity to build a better, fairer society, for example, through green job creation and progressive funding solutions.
Please let us know more about your perspective on climate equity and transitioning to a greener economy in your own words.
We should look at climate equity and transitioning to a greener economy in three distinct ways: in terms of our own local economy, in terms of our role in the global economy, and in terms of Guernsey's social and environmental impact internationally. Our Climate Change Policy embraces all three. I'll try to summarise these as briefly as I can (although they're massive topics so please do get in touch if you'd like more detail!)... Locally: our policy is to shift toward a more circular economy, designing out waste and designing in sustainability. Not only will this be better for businesses, generally speaking (because the bottom line is that more sensible use of resources saves money), but it should also create a more equitable society. To take one example, if the States sponsors a programme aimed at making homes much more energy efficient (for example through high-standard insulation and more energy-efficient appliances), not only will this stimulate the local economy (through goods and services required to carry out the work) but it will also benefit bill payers, because the cost of living will come down. The cruel irony at the moment is that it is often the people who can least afford higher bills that live in the most energy-inefficient houses - and without government support they would not be able to invest in measures to tackle that problem. Focusing on energy efficiency is therefore an economic-social-environmental win-win-win. One of the other possibilities I'm really excited about in the Climate Change Policy is the prioritisation of local carbon sequestration, which could result in more locally and sustainably grown food - which would again have social equity gains as more nutritious food could be more available, and hopefully more affordable too. Our role in the global economy: I’ve championed Green Finance since 2016 and I’m delighted Guernsey is now established as a green and sustainable finance centre. In a nutshell, the transition from the “brown economy” (where economic growth is based on environmentally harmful activity, such as the burning of fossil fuels) to the “green economy” (where economic vibrancy is based on sustainability and clean energy sources) requires the mobilisation of massive amounts of money globally – and that’s how Guernsey can help. By facilitating this transition through our green finance sector, Guernsey can essentially punch well above its weight in terms of real-world impact – and that obviously has a positive impact on our local economy as well. Guernsey’s potential to create positive social and environmental impact beyond our shores extends beyond our finance industry, though: that’s why our Overseas Aid and Development Commission is another key part of our Climate Change Policy. The work the OADC does already supports climate action and resilience in communities that are likely to be hardest hit by climate change, but we’re now working with the OADC to set out some clear guidelines that will make climate resilience a clearer and more explicit part of the incredibly important projects we support in parts of the world that most need our help. Because projects in developing countries often have disproportionately positive climate change mitigation effects compared with what we can do locally, this is another way in which Guernsey can punch well above its weight to support climate equity and the transition to a greener economy.
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?
In the next four years, many of the individual actions in the Climate Change Action Plan (such as measures to phase out single-use plastics) should be underway, with plenty done and dusted. A citizen's assembly should have been established and other forms of community engagement rolled out, which will have helped the States to agree a set of meaningful, effective and acceptable measures to put us on track to achieve our net zero target as soon as possible (well before 2050, I hope!). In four years, many of these measures (for example a programme to make homes more energy efficient) should be in the process of being implemented. The States should also have established an independent climate change advisory body to help inform decisions throughout the entire organisation, and support businesses and individuals transition to a more sustainable and greener economy too. I very much hope that our prioritisation of carbon sequestration programmes will make locally and sustainably grown food more commercially viable and therefore more available and ideally more affordable. In four years I hope we'd also see a further reduction in our total waste volumes and further growth of the proportion of that which is reused and recycled. We should in that time have made good progress towards a more sustainable transport system, further improving the viability and uptake of active travel and public transport through better infrastructure, for example. We should by then have e-bike and EV (car) share schemes established in the island, and much better public, commercial and domestic EV charging infrastructure. Our second interconnector to France should in four years be closer to becoming a reality, which will provide the foundation we need to further progress our own domestic renewable energy generation on a larger scale. Personally, I'd like to see community-owned solar arrays as part of that mix, but in any case we will have, and will be working towards achieving, an on-island renewable energy generation target by then. (Currently about 85% of all the electricity we use in Guernsey is from renewable sources, as 100% of what comes through the existing cable is from hydro or wind.) These factors, combined with others set out in the Climate Change Policy, should drive a marked decrease in our carbon footprint, and we should have a much clearer pathway to net zero. Meanwhile, in four years' time we should also have much more robust legislation and planning processes in place to better protect our natural environment, and our Strategy for Nature will have provided the data to justify significant investment in protecting and enhancing our natural environment – terrestrial and marine – in very practical ways, including through the support of our amazing third sector, to whom we owe so much. (We should also have a marine spatial strategy by then, in fact.) I hope in four years' time we will have opened a Centre for Nature and will have made good progress in much of the very varied work set out in our Strategy for Nature. The possibilities are really quite exciting, but how much of this we can achieve will depend on the political will of the next States - so please choose your candidates with that in mind!