Monday, October 29, 2007

Post-Consultation Climate Bill Released

The UK Climate Bill has been undergoing consultation (consultation questions, response summary). The govornments response, or delay, has just been released. No less than three parliamentary reports feed into the climate bill consultation before the legislation has even entered the law making process! These reports are by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee and a special Joint Committee with both members of the House of Lords and House of Commons.

The key questions is weather a vast consultation and 3 related reports are going to have an impact on govornment policy.

Significantly, the key concerns riased with the bill (strengthened target and broader scope) have been kicked into the long grass for further review...that not a flat refusal but neither is it the sort of response we need to deal with an urgent problem. The following quote is typical of the press response:
"Key among these is the possible inclusion, for the first time, of emissions from the aviation and shipping industry in the UK's targets, something for which environmental campaigners have been clamouring."
From The Guardian with my emphasis.

The reason that this has at least to be a possibility is the responses recieved. The Govornment recieved a large number of responses (16,919!) many of these where, however, identical campaign responses. The number of unique responses was smaller but still very large for a govornment consultation (1,197).

With regards the target the respnse was rather overwhelming:
"In terms of the Government setting a unilaterally long-term legal target for reducing CO2 emissions through domestic and international action by 60% by 2050 and a further interim legal target for 2020 of 26-32%, 95% of the respondents (1009 out of 1061) either agreed with the proposal in full (11%) or agreed subject to qualification (84%). The key qualifiers that prevented full agreement with the proposals were related to the need for higher targets for both 2020 and 2050."
Given this response Tony Juniper sums up me feeling on todays announcment quite well:
"We are pleased the Government is looking again at the overall target for cutting emissions, which it agrees is inadequate, and at whether emissions from shipping and aviation should be included in the Bill. However it's disappointing that we will have to wait two years for these obvious wrongs to be put right."

Finally, according to BusinessGreen, many busineses are largely behind the proposals but need a clear signal, Petter Madden of Forum for the Future clearly dosnet believe that this is yet visable:

Meanwhile, Peter Madden, chief executive of think tank Forum for the Future, warned that the government would now have to "put its money where its mouth is" if it is to have any chance of meeting its own emissions reduction targets.

"Businesses want a clear steer on where climate change policy is going and this bill will help with that," he said. "But where there are still legitimate questions, where the money is coming from? If you look at the recent spending review, £7bn to £8bn is going on climate change, while £50bn goes on security, £100bn on health and £100bn on education. That's not to say those other areas aren't important, just that the level of investment is not yet there to drive the transition to a low carbon economy."
The Document
All Govornment Documents Related to the Climate Bill
Climate Bill Q&A on Guardian Unlimited

More importantly:
We need a carbon treasury, a department with control of all climate related issues. I think this is more important than a climate bill, which exists only on paper. A real department with people working towards one goal: a zero carbon britain would be a more solid achivement. The EAC push for this in thier latest report.

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