So, Tony is going to use his chairmanship of the G8 to press for action on climate change?
That promise didn´t last long. The U.K. Government has already fallen out with the E.U by announcing that they plan to allow industry to emit 20m tonnes more carbon dioxide to industry than approved. The E.U has warned that they will take legal action on the revised allocations, and our Government has responded by taking legal advice and planning to use Britain's power generators to absorb any further cuts in pollution which are enforced.
As usual, Tony and his pals are full of lovely promises, but after the heavy industry lobbyists are through whingeing, the promises are shelved. The CBI helpfully chipped in "UK businesses need the government to fight as hard as it can to make sure companies here are not handicapped with onerous targets when other states are not making the same commitment."
By the way, using power stations to bear the brunt of any further cuts will mean higher power prices for all of us, including industry.
The Kyoto agreement planned an average cut of 5.2% of 1990 levels by 2012, with Britain's contribution was to be around 12.5%. The government has been busy showing off that they actually plan a reduction amounting to 20%! But this has become an empty promise.
The system is based on allocations. If a company produces less pollution than their allocation, they can sell the unused allocation. If they produce too much they must either buy someone else's unused allocation or face fines. Unfortunately, companies have not yet been told what the allocations are, and the revisions mean that the target is now below the level the E.U agreed. Furthermore, the targets are only in place until 2012, and there are no plans to extend them.
In short, reductions will be less than claimed, and those who do not pollute, can earn money allowing others to keep polluting as much as before!
Mr Dimas made plain the EU wanted the United States, China, Russia, India, Japan and Canada, (who account for 75% of emissions) to sign up for stronger commitments to fighting climate change, but the issue was not even raised when Stavros Dimas (the E.U Environment Commissioner) met with Condoleezza Rice. Dimas has warned that even a 50% EU cut would not substantially affect climate change.
However, it is still cheaper to spend money lobbying against climate change policies and environmental protection than it is to invest in pollution control techniques. The chemical industry association has spent $50m (£27m) to weaken the EU's directive on chemicals controls. They even admit that their aim is to "conduct and publicise an economic impact study to dramatise the potentially devastating impacts to industry and consumers".
The CBI´s UK Environmental Regulation report says "sloppy environmental laws are costing industry £4bn a year". However, the climatologists who met at the recent government conference in Exeter heard that a rise of just 2.1 degrees will mean that as many as 3 billion people will have difficulty getting clean water, leading to tens of millions of deaths.
Why should we care, we can just buy water.
This is the really sick part of the situation. We cause the pollution, but we are rich enough that it will affect us last. George Bush tried to hush up a report conducted for the Pentagon in 2004 by Peter Schwartz, (CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group) and Doug Randall (California-based Global Business Network) because they advised that 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to overcome, plunging the planet into war by 2020. But hey we´ve got all the weapons so bring it on!