13 March 2007 – Government Climate Change Bill

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Tuesday 13th March 2007

CARBON FOOTPRINTS FOR SALE?

Binding Carbon Targets Proposed

As announced today the Climate Change Bill sounds VERY ambitious and undoubtedly, in Mr Blair’s own words ” a revolutionarystep”. On tonight’s Newsnight in an interview with Jeremy Paxman, David Miliband seemed to show the thinking on the issues surrounding the fact that the whole world is linked in the matter of climate change. If I understood him correctly, it seems that not only are we all liable to be suffocated by climate change, but our “carbon footprints” and those excess to requirements from other countries may in future years be bought and sold to meet our “targets”. So if African countries, for example, do not use up all of their yearly allowances, we can buy some of that allowance from them. Hmm..mmm

So does that mean that some countries (not us of course!) will press for higher targets to begin with so that they have more footprint allowance to cash in? And that there will be a market in carbon footprints?

Shocking? Well, maybe. But since older industralised nations like ours, probably the oldest and most industrialised in the world, take some cleaning up, some newer less-industrialised nations are likely to clean up more easily.

So is Miliband’s jaw-dropping proposal – yes Paxman’s jaw definitely dropped – just realistic environmental politics? Is it likely to happen worldwide with such nations as China and India in the future when THEY catch up with us and the rest of the EU?

Whatever, I am sure it’ll rattle a few environmentalists’ cages tomorrow when they’ve got over their unexpected congratulating of the government for today’s proposals.

Keep your (green) hat on , folks. Climate change is political too, and in a world arena. It needs to be treated with nimble political fingers.

Enter, stage left, right and centre – Tony Blair – International Climate Control Co-ordinator.

REPORT FROM DOWNING STREET today

Britain could become the first country to set legally binding carbon reduction targets under plans unveiled by Environment Secretary David Miliband.

The draft Climate Change Bill calls for an independent panel to set ministers a “carbon budget” every five years, in a bid to cut emissions by 60% by 2050.

If they miss the figure, future governments could be taken to court.

David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, said that setting annual targets, as called for by the opposition parties, would not be sensible.

From the Downing Street website:

PM sets out UK’s low-carbon future

The Government’s blueprint for tackling climate change has been unveiled by Tony Blair, who described it as a ‘revolutionary step”.

The draft Climate Change Bill, the first of its kind in any country, sets out a framework for moving the UK to a low-carbon economy.

Mr Blair, Gordon Brown and David Miliband answered questions from young people in Downing Street during the launch.

The PM told them:

“Every generation of political leaders is confronted by a major and often different challenge. People that have been in Downing Street over the years have faced issues to do with the Cold War, the Depression and the rise of fascism. Climate change is a bit of a different type of challenge but a challenge I believe is the biggest long-term threat facing our world.”

Key points of the draft bill include:

* Making the UK’s targets for a 60 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, and a 26 to 32 per cent reduction, by 2020 legally binding
* A new system of five-year “carbon budgets”, set at least 15 years ahead, to provide clarity on the UK’s pathway towards its key targets
* A Committee on Climate Change to provide expert advice and guidance to Government on achieving its targets and staying within its budgets

The draft bill will be subject to a full public consultation – giving everyone the chance to have their say – alongside pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament.

A strategy paper released alongside the Bill sets out how it fits into the Government’s wider international strategy, as well as detailing a range of future domestic policies to achieve its aims.

It argues that all sectors of society will have to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, but without a reduction in standards of living.

European leaders last week agreed a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and a commitment that renewable energy will comprise 20 per cent of EU energy consumption by the same year.

Read the draft Climate Control Bill here. You can also submit your own proposals.

BBC report on David Miliband’s proposals

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