Friends of the Earth, which has led demands for new UK legislation on climate change, welcomed the proposed climate change bill as ‘a crucial first step’, while arguing that it should legislate for a 3 per cent annual cut in CO2 emissions. With UK carbon emissions still rising, according to the most recent government figures, this issue of legally binding targets is likely to be central to the debate on the bill.
The environment minister, David Miliband, has already dismissed such targets as a ‘silly’ idea, but he is rowing against the tide. The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives support them, while Stop Climate Chaos, the largest UK-based coalition of climate change campaigners, is calling for an annual ‘carbon budget’ to ensure that such targets are reached. The Green Party, which calls for a 6 per cent annual reduction in CO2 emissions, dismissed the new bill as ‘toothless and inadequate’.
With climate change priorities increasingly being set at an EU and global level, however, the focus on domestic targets should not blind us to Britain’s role in the international system. The UK is a leading promoter of emissions trading – introducing a UK-wide emissions trading scheme in 2002, before playing a leading role in the EU emissions trading scheme from 2005, and using the G8 to promote marketbased ‘solutions’ to climate change.
‘As a financial services base, Britain dominates the carbon market globally,’ David Miliband told the UN climate change conference in Nairobi. Mark these words: there is money to be made from these poorly regulated markets that legitimise continued pollution, as Derek Wall points out, and a warm green Westminster consensus belies the UK government’s continued role in helping large corporations to make it.
#232: Rue Britannia ● The legacy of the British Empire ● An interview with Priyamvada Gopal ● The People’s Olympics ● An interview with Neville Southall ● Agribusiness in India ● Deliveroo’s disastrous IPO ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
Ted Benton tackles questions of truth, science and radical alternatives in a period of political turmoil
Low traffic neighbourhoods are part of building a fairer city, argues Rachel Aldred
As unethical companies continue to generate hefty profits, Josie Wexler examines various schemes for upholding ethical standards, and how much faith we should put in them
Leander Jones looks at the role of community supported agriculture as a 21st-century antidote to the destructive and increasingly fragile corporate agricultural model
Alethea Warrington describes how the fossil fuels industry hopes to change its image but not its practice
Phillip O’Sullivan looks at the role of community energy groups in disrupting the energy status quo
Want to try Red Pepper before you take out a subscription? Sign up to our newsletter and read Issue 231 for free.