Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Who will lead on combatting dangerous climate change?

Listening to Radio 4’s _Today_ programme this morning, I had some trouble digesting my breakfast; I couldn’t help laughing over the repeated claims from Conservatives at Blackpool that their’s is “the green party”. What a total joke. For in fact, this Conference has already seen them junking most of their headline green-leaning policy-recommendations from Zac Goldsmith’s ‘Quality of Life’ policy group. John Redwood’s triumphant ‘Competitiveness’ agenda is clearly winning the day. Poor Zac must already be wondering when to return to the real Green Party. If you want to Go Green, you’ve got to VOTE Green. There is only one Green Party…

No-one can take seriously the fantasy that the number 1 Party of big business, the Tories, would truly have a green agenda. It is more interesting to turn one’s attention to the claims of Blair, Brown, and Brown’s most likely successor (if he manages somehow to blow the upcoming General Election), David Miliband, to have something to say about dangerous climate change. Opinion polls show that the populace do not trust the claims of Cameron (with his bicycle and his chauffeur-driven Lexus riding quietly along behind the bike) to be serious about the environment. But an alarming number do believe that New Labour’s commitment to tackling dangerous climate change is more than just spin, more than just dangerous hot air…

I am especially concerned that David Miliband has lyingly spun his government's 'achievements' on dangerous climate change, and thereby lulled the populace into a false sense of security: such that most people don’t even realise that our CO2 emissions here in Britain are still going remorselessly up, each year. Miliband has misleadingly claimed on numerous occasions that the fact that the government is perhaps going to meet the Kyoto target in narrow technical terms implies that it is actually reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But this is simply not the case.
Milliband has claimed that the UK had achieved major cuts in greenhouse gases since 1990 (incredibly, he has often cited alleged figures of Britain being on course to achieve 25% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2012). The figures that Miliband and his successors at DEFRA are using leave out embodied energy, the quite proper inclusion of which would make a
complete nonsense of any such notions (Britain is in fact 'exporting' its carbon emissions to China).
Even on the most generous figures available to the government (not only excluding embodied energy but also excluding international transport -- see below), CO2 has more or less flatlined since Labour came to power, rising in recent years, and thus showing an overall
small rise and is only slightly (a few percentage points) below 1990 (Kyoto baseline) levels. The greenhouse gas "basket", which Mr. Milliband and other Ministers are probably referring to is down more significantly on 1990 ... BUT this measure EXCLUDES AVIATION AND SHIPPING !! When those are included, there has been little or no reduction even since 1990.
And in fact, there has been and remains a further systematic massive under-estimate of Britain's contribution to CO2 emissions from air travel, because only aircraft taking off from Britain are counted. That sounds reasonable, UNTIL ONE NOTICES that almost 70% of the passengers taking off and landing in Britain are Britons. I.e. Defra ought to be attributing 70% -- not 50% -- of the emissions of planes taking off from and landing in Britain to the UK. This makes a huge difference.
Between 1990 and 2003, estimated CO2 emissions from aviation rose by 90%, a staggering increase. And even then the government stats do _not_ take into account the full effects of 'radiative forcing' -- the increased global heating effect of emissions at high altitude, with the cocktail of gases and water vapour that planes emit.

So New Labour’s claims as to its record on emissions are at best very partial and very deeply misleading. If the full effects of the increase in aviation, avidly promoted by this government, are included, then it is quite possible that there has been a significant _increase_ in global warming gas emissions due to Britain since 1990, and there _certainly_ has since 1997. A long long way from what Mr. Miliband and other leading New Labourites have claimed in print, repeatedly. For how can Britain possibly be "on course" to achieve the substantial reductions that they claims, in just a few years from now, if in fact there has been an increase in emissions, since New Labour came to power?!

[ p.s. Shamefully, Gordon Brown didn’t even mention global over-heat in his speech closing Labour Party Conference last week. But, in case you think that David Miliband would be likely to be any better, the following newspaper article is of potential interest. It sets out some of the ways in which even the Labour Party doesn’t really think that Miliband, behind the spin, is green…Perhaps this might help explain why Miliband was, in a surprise to many, moved on from DEFRA, after Mr. Brown took over?...: http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1300488.0.labour_green_group_seeks_to_oust_pronuclear_miliband.php ]

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1. 2. 3. Rupert's Read: Who will lead on combatting dangerous climate change? 4. 12. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 23. 24.

25. 26. Who will lead on combatting dangerous climate change? 27. 28.

29.

Listening to Radio 4’s _Today_ programme this morning, I had some trouble digesting my breakfast; I couldn’t help laughing over the repeated claims from Conservatives at Blackpool that their’s is “the green party”. What a total joke. For in fact, this Conference has already seen them junking most of their headline green-leaning policy-recommendations from Zac Goldsmith’s ‘Quality of Life’ policy group. John Redwood’s triumphant ‘Competitiveness’ agenda is clearly winning the day. Poor Zac must already be wondering when to return to the real Green Party. If you want to Go Green, you’ve got to VOTE Green. There is only one Green Party…

No-one can take seriously the fantasy that the number 1 Party of big business, the Tories, would truly have a green agenda. It is more interesting to turn one’s attention to the claims of Blair, Brown, and Brown’s most likely successor (if he manages somehow to blow the upcoming General Election), David Miliband, to have something to say about dangerous climate change. Opinion polls show that the populace do not trust the claims of Cameron (with his bicycle and his chauffeur-driven Lexus riding quietly along behind the bike) to be serious about the environment. But an alarming number do believe that New Labour’s commitment to tackling dangerous climate change is more than just spin, more than just dangerous hot air…

I am especially concerned that David Miliband has lyingly spun his government's 'achievements' on dangerous climate change, and thereby lulled the populace into a false sense of security: such that most people don’t even realise that our CO2 emissions here in Britain are still going remorselessly up, each year. Miliband has misleadingly claimed on numerous occasions that the fact that the government is perhaps going to meet the Kyoto target in narrow technical terms implies that it is actually reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But this is simply not the case.
Milliband has claimed that the UK had achieved major cuts in greenhouse gases since 1990 (incredibly, he has often cited alleged figures of Britain being on course to achieve 25% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2012). The figures that Miliband and his successors at DEFRA are using leave out embodied energy, the quite proper inclusion of which would make a
complete nonsense of any such notions (Britain is in fact 'exporting' its carbon emissions to China).
Even on the most generous figures available to the government (not only excluding embodied energy but also excluding international transport -- see below), CO2 has more or less flatlined since Labour came to power, rising in recent years, and thus showing an overall
small rise and is only slightly (a few percentage points) below 1990 (Kyoto baseline) levels. The greenhouse gas "basket", which Mr. Milliband and other Ministers are probably referring to is down more significantly on 1990 ... BUT this measure EXCLUDES AVIATION AND SHIPPING !! When those are included, there has been little or no reduction even since 1990.
And in fact, there has been and remains a further systematic massive under-estimate of Britain's contribution to CO2 emissions from air travel, because only aircraft taking off from Britain are counted. That sounds reasonable, UNTIL ONE NOTICES that almost 70% of the passengers taking off and landing in Britain are Britons. I.e. Defra ought to be attributing 70% -- not 50% -- of the emissions of planes taking off from and landing in Britain to the UK. This makes a huge difference.
Between 1990 and 2003, estimated CO2 emissions from aviation rose by 90%, a staggering increase. And even then the government stats do _not_ take into account the full effects of 'radiative forcing' -- the increased global heating effect of emissions at high altitude, with the cocktail of gases and water vapour that planes emit.

So New Labour’s claims as to its record on emissions are at best very partial and very deeply misleading. If the full effects of the increase in aviation, avidly promoted by this government, are included, then it is quite possible that there has been a significant _increase_ in global warming gas emissions due to Britain since 1990, and there _certainly_ has since 1997. A long long way from what Mr. Miliband and other leading New Labourites have claimed in print, repeatedly. For how can Britain possibly be "on course" to achieve the substantial reductions that they claims, in just a few years from now, if in fact there has been an increase in emissions, since New Labour came to power?!

[ p.s. Shamefully, Gordon Brown didn’t even mention global over-heat in his speech closing Labour Party Conference last week. But, in case you think that David Miliband would be likely to be any better, the following newspaper article is of potential interest. It sets out some of the ways in which even the Labour Party doesn’t really think that Miliband, behind the spin, is green…Perhaps this might help explain why Miliband was, in a surprise to many, moved on from DEFRA, after Mr. Brown took over?...: http://www.sundayherald.com/news/heraldnews/display.var.1300488.0.labour_green_group_seeks_to_oust_pronuclear_miliband.php ]

30. 31. 32.