For many green businesses and NGOs, chancellor George Osborne is public enemy number one. He is the torcher of environmental protections, the salvation of carbon-intensive polluters, the arch-apologist for the high carbon growth path, and the single most significant barrier to the development of a low-carbon economy in the UK.
There is plenty of evidence to support this characterisation.
Most notably, last autumn Osborne waved a red rag at the green movement with his casual dismissal of the green economy and environmental regulations. In vowing to ensure the UK goes no faster than the rest of the EU in its pursuit of decarbonisation and lamenting the “ridiculous costs” and “burdens” that green regulations place on businesses, Osborne sent environmental campaigners around the country into paroxysms of rage.
Add in the £200m of support promised to energy intensive industries, the eye-watering cuts imposed on Defra’s budget, the failure to find additional cash to resolve the feed-in tariff crisis, the complete lack of movement on promised green taxes, the refusal to even acknowledge the five per cent growth achieved by the low-carbon economy and, worst of all, the threatened reforms to environmental habitat and planning rules that have left many campaigners fearing next week’s budget will represent a Black Wednesday for the countryside, and you can see why Osborne is perceived as the green movement’s mortal enemy.