LONDON - The Conservatives said on Tuesday they will pay households to recycle rubbish, set up a green investment bank and cut government emissions by 10 percent in a year if they win next year's election.
The party said it would publish departments' energy consumption online to force politicians and public workers to cut their carbon footprint.
With countries meeting for U.N. climate talks in Denmark next month, both Labour and the Conservatives have been keen to promote their environmental credentials.
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said the Treasury had traditionally been at best indifferent, at worst obstructive toward environmental policy.
That attitude is going to change if the government changes, Osborne said in a speech at Imperial College London, a science-based university founded in 1907.
I want a Conservative Treasury to be in the lead of developing the low carbon economy and financing the green recovery.
Under his proposals, the Conservatives would cut carbon emissions from government departments by a tenth within a year of coming to power, saving some 300 million pounds a year. Departments which fail to reach that target will have their funding cut.
A Tory government would begin talks on establishing a new investment bank that would consolidate all existing government funding of new environmental projects, Osborne added.
The public would be able to invest in tax-free savings accounts that fund green initiatives and the Conservatives would set a 10-year minimum tax on burying household waste.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband dismissed the Conservative pledges as greenwash and said the plans were not backed by promises of new money.
The truth is that the Tories have opposed Labour's extra public investment, including the 400 million pounds allocated at the time of the budget for new green industries, Miliband said in a statement. So why should anyone believe a piece of greenwash from George Osborne?
Britain was the first country to set legally binding targets to cut emissions. It aims for a reduction of 34 percent by 2020 and at least 80 percent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
(Additional reporting by Sumeet Desai; Editing by Steve Addison)