Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The most important part of Gordon Brown's speech

Most of the commentary on Gordon Brown's speech will no doubt be about what it means for his future, what the plotters will make of it etc. But when history looks back at his speech there will be one section which I believe will be of lasting significance.

In his speech, Gordon Brown said he would be asking the Climate Change Committee to report 'by October' on whether the CO2 cut target in the climate change bill by 2050 should be increased from 60% to 80%. The significance of this is that MPs are due to debate the bill in mid October and until now there was a risk that we would not by that stage have known what Adair Turner and his colleagues were going to recommend. This was the fig-leaf behind which the Tory decision to keen abstaining on this issue was hiding. But if the Government can now ensure that we have seen what the independent Committee have to say before MPs vote then the Tories will have to make their minds up. And if the Tories back my amendment on 80% and the Labour rebels who have signed similar amendments in the past do the same, then we will win!

An improved target for 2050 is not the be-all and end-all, but it does mean that the five-yearly carbon budgets which are to be produced will be aiming at a more adventurous goal from day one. If today's speech makes that more likely then it is to be welcomed. All we need now is the rest of Government policy - eg airport expansion, new coal power plants etc. - to come into line....

4 comments:

Technomist said...

What level of carbon the UK economy may or may not using in 2050 is all very interesting for MPs to score points off each other and debate like they are some bunch of students, but with the way that we are being taxed to bits, misgoverned and inward investment systematically discouraged, there is every chance we'll have cut emissions by 100% long before then. Its called the collapse of the economy. Remember the 3 day week? Its like that only permanent.

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