Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet minister who now serves on the Downing Street policy board, said that an unravelling global consensus on climate change should prompt a rethink.
[…] Just how far Britain should go in tackling climate change is becoming an increasingly politically charged issue as households and businesses feel the burden of green levies while other countries reduce their commitments.
Japan cast a shadow over UN climate talks in Warsaw yesterday by abandoning its previous target to cut emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, blaming the move away from nuclear power on the Fukushima disaster. Its new target would allow emissions to rise by 3.1 per cent during the same period.
The announcement came after a decision this week by Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, to repeal a carbon tax and reject tighter emission targets.
Peter Lilley, the former Cabinet minister who now serves on the Downing Street policy board, said the dilution of other countries’ commitments made it all the more imperative that Britain didn’t “further disadvantage itself”.
Mr Lilley was one of the few MPs who voted against the Climate Change Act, which commits Britain to steep cuts in emissions. He said that an unravelling global consensus should prompt a rethink. “The justification has always been that we must set an example to the rest of the world even though Britain is responsible for just 2 per cent of emissions,” he added.
The revisions by Japan, Australia, Canada and others should force “even the most self-deluded ministers” to acknowledge that attempt had failed, Mr Lilley said. He challenged Mr Cameron’s household insurance analogy, saying that even hardline climate-change scientists were not predicting a sudden global destruction, but gradual changes to which mankind could adapt.
Rising energy costs prompted the Prime Minister last month to promise to “roll back” green levies adding to household bills. That led to attacks from Labour that he was abandoning a commitment to the environment, a defining feature of the early part of his leadership.