Environmentalists first promoted a climate change bill when Britain was enjoying an economic boom – albeit through an evidently unsustainable housing bubble and consumer credit.
When the economic crisis of 2008 unfolded, I was a journalist at the Sunday Times newspaper and was told by Nicholas Hellen, then deputy news editor, that any environment stories were, as a result, immediately off the agenda. Consumers could no longer afford to ‘go green’.
But the momentum of the climate change legislation then passing through Parliament was enough to see it through to royal assent, with almost universal support across the political and economic spectrum. A tiny rump of free market Tories were the only MPs to voice any opposition.