Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Climate Change - Draft Bill Published

New Labour's leadership-question-shy boy wonder David Miliband has launched the draft of the British Government's Climate Change Bill. The draft Bill - to be proceeded with in the autumn - has modest targets, (60% by 2050 and 26-32% by 2020) and a proposal for five year carbon budgets, with annual reporting on progress. It falls far short of the demands of green groups and even some of the demands of the other parties. Miliband, the "blogging minister" has even done a YouTube video to go with it.

Here is the Guardian take on the draft bill.

Much of the slog of the campaigning for the Bill has been done by the Big Ask Campaign headed up by Friends of The Earth - they are asking for 3% per year emissions cuts and an 80% cut by 2050) - here is their press release on the draft.

The Green Party Policy on Climate Change takes more account of the urgency of the situation. The policy has a number of motions to amend it at the Green Party Spring Conference in Wales next week, but remains a good basis for discussion, drawing on the understanding of the problem and possible solutions found in the Contraction and Convergence (C&C) model.

Like FoE, the Greens call for annual targets -

CC110 The Green Party calls for the establishment of annual targets for global and national greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and for the establishment of effective enforcement mechanisms.

The Green Party's current policy is to aim for even more than the three percent per annum reduction argued for by FoE -

CC200 The Green Party calls for the establishment of a number of targets for global and national greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and for the establishment of effective enforcement mechanisms. All targets herein relate to a baseline of emissions in 1990, as in the Kyoto Protocol.
CC201 On average, each person worldwide emitted about 5 tonnes of CO2 in 2000, of which 4 tonnes came from fossil-fuel burning. There were huge international variations, with the Americans averaging 20 tonnes, British 9, Chinese 2.5 and Africans 1 tonne. Simple climate models consistent with IPCC findings suggest that global average emissions need to be reduced by 65-80% by 2030. Following the principle of convergence this requires UK emissions to be cut by 80-90%.
CC202 The UK's commitment under the EU basket agreement reached in conjunction with the Kyoto Protocol is a reduction in the 6-gas basket by 15% by 2008-2012. The Blair government has also committed the UK to a 20% reduction in CO2 by then.
CC203 UK emissions in 2003 were 7.5% below the 1990 baseline. We should aim steadily to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuels to 10% of their 1990 levels by 2030. To achieve this, we will target a 6% annual reduction in UK CO2 emissions, and establish effective mechanisms for getting back on track should an annual target be missed.

The policy contains plans for how the necessary reductions are to be achieved internationally and nationally -

C.2 International Activity
CC210 The Green Party supports the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; and will campaign for the non-use of its loopholes wherever possible. A GP Policy statement describes the KP and our views of it in more detail.
CC211 The Kyoto Protocol says nothing about the future beyond 2012. To address that timescale the Green Party advocates the adoption by the UNFCCC of a framework of Contraction and Convergence (C&C) as the key ingredient in the global political solution to the problem of Climate Change mitigation, and urges the UK and other governments use it as the basis for negotiations in the international fora.
CC212 C&C is a scheme to provide for a smooth and equitable transition to a safe level of global CO2 emissions from human activity. It can be adapted either to follow-on from a successful Kyoto Protocol, or can equally be used in case the KP is not brought into force by enough countries ratifying it. C&C is not an alternative to the KP; it is a long-term framework for global cooperation towards a genuine solution; while the KP is a short-term fix that takes only very limited steps forward. A GP policy statement describes C&C in more detail.
CC213 'Contraction', means adopting a scientifically determined safe target concentration level and setting global annual emissions levels which should take the atmosphere to that target. The UNFCCC should agree specific thresholds for unacceptable climate impacts, from which the IPCC should calculate the appropriate concentration level, to be reviewed at 5-yearly intervals.
CC214 'Convergence' means taking the world in an achievable way, both technically and politically, from the present situation to a common level of per-capita emissions in a target year. Under it nations are allocated annual quotas for emissions, which start from current or Kyoto-based levels in year 1 of the agreement and converge to equal per-capita allocations after a negotiated interval, probably of a few decades.
CC215 The C&C package is completed with an emissions-trading mechanism, which should include a percentage cap to limit the proportion of a country's reductions that can be bought rather than achieved domestically. Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms are also required and should be set up by the UNFCCC.
C.3 Emissions Reductions in the UK
CC230 The principles of C&C would also provide the basis for reductions in emissions within the UK, through the introduction of a system of tradable quotas. This system should cover all emissions of carbon dioxide produced by burning of fossil fuels in the UK. On introduction of the system the total carbon quota would be equivalent to current emission levels, but would reduce year-on-year to meet the targets set out in C.1. Carbon quota would be needed for all purchases of electricity (if not from a renewable source), air flights and direct purchase of fossil fuels including gas, coal, petrol, diesel and fuel oil. Consideration would be given to also including long distance train travel. A system for buying and selling quotas would be established.
CC231 A proportion of the total quota would be distributed free of charge to all eligible individuals in the UK, with all adults receiving an equal amount. The remaining quota would be sold to organisations (public, private and voluntary) by a system set up by the government.
CC232 In addition to the introduction of quotas there would be a major programme of investment in energy conservation, energy efficient appliances, public transport and renewable energy technology, so that people are able to live within their quotas. This investment would be achieved through a programme of public spending and through the revision of technical standards, such as building regulations and standards for energy efficiency of appliances. The details of these measures are set out elsewhere in the MfSS.

Meanwhile, rebuttals of the contrarian Durkin 'documentary' continue - this time from George Monbiot on the Guardian Comment is Free pages.

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