Thursday, December 09, 2010

Climate change: This is what ambition looks like

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith gave his speech to the COP16 negotiations in Cancun today, in which he refused to commit to any reduction targets unless we get some changes to the rules around forestry allowing us to effectively cut down forests while pretending they still exist, and hence to delay any real emissions reduction through accounting tricks. Meanwhile, the UK's Committee on Climate Change - a statutory body tasked with recommending emissions targets - has recommended a 60% cut from 1990 levels by 2030. This will require a massive greening of the UK's electricity and transport systems, but the committee thinks they can do it, at a cost of less than 1% of GDP.

This is what ambition looks like. Its also the sort of action needed to solve the problem - the sort of action we should be taking as a world-leader on the environment. Instead we're arguing for accounting loopholes while committing to no reductions (and planning to massively raise our emissions through more cows and lignite-to-diesel plants). So much for our environmental leadership, and so much for our mana. National has pissed away both.