Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blair pulls back on climate change targets

Tony Blair has said he remains keen to see 'binding agreements' put in place to deal with climate change.

But only after sustained pressure, following an outcry after his seeming abandonment of the idea of climate change targets at the opening of a meeting of energy and environment ministers from 20 countries in October/November (and following heaps of coal being dumped by WWF and Greenpeace blocking the exits from his Downing Street bunker).

(The Low Carbon Kid would really like to know where this ended up - I sincerely hope it was given to poor pensioners in freezing homes after it was cleared away.)

Speaking to MPs on November 16 during Prime Minister's Questions, Blair refuted suggestions that his 'resolve was weakening' on the issue, and said that any framework on emission targets needed to be agreed by everyone, including the US, China and India to make any such treaty worthwhile.

Blair said that the Kyoto protocol had been important, but that the world needed to combine the need for growth with 'a proper and responsible attitude' towards the environment.

Whether this remains his real thoughts on the matter The Low Carbon Kid really doubts.

Blair is much more interested in votes than anything else, and as long as he feels the majority of the country is more interested in jobs and the economy than the environment, he will do nothing to protect the environment that he thinks will adversely affect the performance of the economy.

Lest anyone doubt this, let them remember his words to the House of Commons liaison committee in February 2005, as he explained, with a smirk on his face, why he won't be seeking to meet his Government's target for reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by imposing a fuel tax on airlines:

"How many politicians facing a potential election would vote to end cheap air travel?"

End cheap air travel? We're talking about £5 on the price of a ticket to New York (according to carbon-neutralising experts at Future Forests).

He just doesn't get it.

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