Thursday, September 13, 2007

Conservatives release The Quality of Life Report (PDF)

The other day, to very little adoo the Lib Dems released there Zero Carbon Britain report, explaing how they are going to decarbonise the UK by 2050.

Today, to a slightly higher level of attention, the conservatives are releasing there long awaited Qaulity of Life Group report.

Full Report Download (PDF) (Via Conservative Home)

From what i have heard in the last few days, this is far from an ambitious document. It's importance can however be found by looking at the media reaction.

Skepticism on the left, dispair on the right. Is that to harsh? Perhaps, but there is a good deal of both of these attitudes, the media have been a disgrace. Presenting this in 'story cliche #54: economy vs environment' a case is made that taxes just aren't a conservative thing to do as they mean protecting the environment and damaging the economy.

The fact that this is wrong dosent seem to deter the majority of hacks from this ancient and reliable #54...a nice reliable frame that everyone understands and dosent require to much thought!

Unfortunately this means that the noble idea of stringent cross party policies developing on climate change is scuppered. Cameron is getting so much flack that he cant be blamed for quickly getting his head back down behind the paraphet. This obviouly proves to the left that he was never realy serious, and to the right that this whole saving the planet thing was never a very Tory idea in the first place!

I guess unity in opposition is unexciting, the real story, of an incumbent govornment with its head in the sand, being rapidly outflanked by liberals and conservatives is not discussed.

The general sheepishness about this admirable leap towards sanity on the right can be seen in the first paragraph of the Conservative Home blog's coverage of the report.

Interestingly it doesn't have an executive summary. Reports without executive summaries nearly always - in my experience - don't want to be fully open about what they contain.
Maybe this dosent mean anything but i get the sneeking suspicion that the blue green agenda is going to have a hard time.

===

[UPDATE] The good points according to friends of the earth.

Positive proposals within the Quality of Life report include:

  • Moral imperative for developed countries to remain focused on ensuring that global temperatures rise no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (p366/367). This means the UK must plan for an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 (p370) and include annual milestones in the Climate Change Bill (p372) and include Britain's share of international aviation and shipping emissions in its Climate Change Bill (p370).
  • Moving to a low carbon economy is an overriding aim of any responsible government (p264) and is in Britain's national interest (p380).
  • Establish sharply decreasing targets to help towards 2050 target (p269).
  • Moratorium on airport expansion (p344).
  • Redefining the measure of UK's success away from simply measuring GDP and towards a triad of high level indicators capturing economic well-being, societal well-being and environmental well-being (p52).
  • * Maintain diversity of retailer outlets (p156) through planning policy (p180).
  • * A strengthened legally binding code of practice on supermarkets (p182) and keeping and improving the needs test to control out of town shopping (p184)
  • Verification and certification on bio-fuels, including full life-cycle assessment of greenhouse gases (p187) and use of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) to move from volume based approach to quality based approach (p336).
  • Car efficiency targets of 120g CO2 per kilometre by 2012, 80-100g by 2020 through the EU (p331).
  • Joint implementation measures and Clean Development Mechanisms (carbon trading) should not be used as a way of avoiding domestic reductions in carbon dioxide (p268).
  • A mandatory code for sustainable homes (p281) plus energy performance certificates requiring improvements by landlords (p71) and home owners when major changes are made to a house (p68).
  • Financial incentives (e.g. council tax rebates) plus low cost capital to help home-owners improve energy efficiency and (p277/278) renewable heat (p289) and reduced stamp duty for energy efficient homes (p72).
  • Feed-in tariffs (a fixed price for selling electricity to the grid) for small-scale low carbon technologies (p283).
  • Balance of transport funding weighed towards reducing carbon intensity (p306).
  • Purchase tax on cars according to CO2 output (p332).
  • Amend VED rates to drive uptake of more efficient cars in used cars market.
  • Demand management for aviation (p341), including reformed and annual increases in air passenger duty (p341) and VAT on domestic flights (p342).
  • Decouple profits of energy companies from sales volumes (p359).
  • Consider developing countries export led agricultural model (p159).
  • Government bodies should report on carbon footprint and public building should pioneer in energy efficiency, micro-generation and community scale technologies (p78).
  • No tax-payers/government funding for nuclear fission, risks and costs of nuclear borne by the private sector (p287).
  • Power station waste heat levy (p288).
  • No new electric air conditioning and refrigeration in commercial buildings (p289).
  • No new coal stations after 2020 without carbon capture & storage or for existing stations after 2025 (p290).
  • Employer parking spaces tax (p303).
  • The option to reject a proposal at a public inquiry (p102).
  • Set County and Unitary Authority targets for carbon reduction (p89).
  • Review how WTO rules bear on climate change (p399).
  • Legislation to ensure only legal and sustainable timber products are sold in UK (p401).
  • Auctioning of 100 per cent of permits under ETS to utility sector (p403) and aviation (p405).
  • Product policy that today's "best standard" should be a minimum requirement within an agreed timeframe (p408).
  • Focus on zero waste and emphasis on its benefits for business (p. 246).
  • Extending producer responsibility to incorporate all waste streams (p. 250)
  • Sectoral targets for resource use (p250).
  • Product levies to encourage re-use (250).
  • Public procurement strategies for all Government Departments, agencies and local authorities. (p. 252).
  • Bans on the land-filling (p257) of recyclable and compostable materials.

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