Monday, 1 December 2008

A Turner for the Worse? Climate Change Committee report

So, the Climate Change Committee reported for the first time today. Its current boss is off to, er, greener pastures, and apparently the very short shortlist of possible replacements wasn't suitable and those who formulated it were told to go away and think harder. But I digress....

The key recommendations of the report, which I've not yet seen, are these-

  • More aggressive targets for cutting gas emissions (“mitigation”) than the rest of Europe.
  • (26% cut on 1990 levels by 2020. EU target is 20%, 30% if Uncle Sam plays along)
  • Coal fired power stations need Carbon Capture and Storage
  • 5 year carbon budgets
  • Nukes are “cost-competitive with conventional fossil-fuel generation”

The Climate Change Committee seems to be one of those classic British arms-length things where our Lords and Masters can seem to be “taking independent advice”, so long as “taking” and “enacting” are not the same thing. As Tom Burke of e3g explained to Gerry Northam on tonight's Panorama (about the return of UK coal), this is a government that has talked a good green game, but has been stealthily moving the goalposts. (Anyone remember the promise to be 20% below 1990 levels by 2010? No, that was quietly dropped before Madame Beckett left DEFRA...).

So Ed Miliband, chief DECC-chair re-arranger, said ministers would “consider” the report.

Of course, Lord Adair Turner is an astute player of these games. A few days back he mumbled that a Third Runway at Heathrow wouldn't be altogether unthinkable.

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