Brown promotes unhealthy climate

In: Uncategorized

6 Dec 2006

Today’s pre-budget report from Britain’s Treasury gives some indication of how climate change policy is likely to unfold. Policies designed to encourage behaviour modification, such as green taxes, will be quickly implemented while initiatives to develop new technology will be minimal. Among the measures discussed in Gordon Brown’s speech to parliament:

* Air passenger duty will be doubled from 1 February. For three-quarters of journeys the rise will be £5 to £10. So the government will continue its policy of punishing those who travel abroad.

* Fuel duty will increase by 1.25 pence per litre.

* Within 10 years every new home will be “zero carbon”. Given that so few new homes are built in Britain this new measure may not amount to much. But what is a “zero carbon” home? Surely it cannot be one that uses no electricity or has no hot water? Then again given Brown’s passion for austerity …

* Brown confirmed the government will spend £550m on an Environmental Technology Institute (as far as I can gather the money will be spent over 10 years or more). As Anatole Kaletsky, an associate editor of the Times (London), has argued this is a pitiful amount for a government that claims climate change is the top challenge facing humanity.

* Along similarly meagre lines Britain and Norway are launching a “feasibility study” to investigate the possibility of capturing carbon emissions and storing them under the North Sea.

* Brown said the government’s aim was “to make London the world’s leading centre for carbon trading”. This is one pledge where the government’s sincerity cannot be doubted. If there is an area where Britain leads the world it is in financial speculation.

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