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George Osborne Vows UK Won’t Go It Alone On Carbon Targets

Chancellor hints he could water down UK’s ambitious carbon targets

George Osborne has vowed that the UK will not lead the rest of Europe in its efforts to cut carbon emissions, raising the prospect that the country’s carbon targets could be watered down if the EU does not agree to more ambitious emission reduction goals.

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Conditional Climate Targets Are A Step Back From Blind Unilateralism

The Global Warming Policy Foundation, 18 May 2011

LONDON, 18 May – The Global Warming Policy Foundation regards the UK’s conditional adoption of post-2020 carbon targets as a first step back from blind and grandiloquent unilateralism.

“Nobody should fall for Chris Huhne’s green spin. It is now absolutely clear that the government’s proposed carbon targets are conditional on international agreements and developments,” said Dr Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

“The conditionality of UK targets on future EU targets is a step in the right direction,” Dr Peiser added.

Chris Huhne’s acknowledgement that “it is important that we move at the same speed as the EU” effectively means that the UK no longer aims to go it alone.

The ‘early 2014’ review of the government’s provisional targets are welcome, as is its assurance that UK targets will from now on be “aligned with EU targets.”

The government statement is an uneasy compromise between Vince Cable and Chris Huhne which, although a move in the right direction, does not go far enough. The Global Warming Policy Foundation is calling for the entire Climate Change Act to be suspended pending a binding global agreement.

The effective rejection of the Climate Change Committee insistence that the carbon budget be met entirely by domestic decarbonistion and not by carbon trading is also a welcome relaxation.

However, the promise to help energy-intensive industries, if carried out, would mean higher taxes as well as the higher energy prices implied by decarbonisation.

“The government’s claim that no other country has such targets is correct,as no other country wishes to inflict such damage on its business sector and economy,” said Lord Lawson, the chairman of the Global Warning Policy Foundation.

“We trust that, in the national interest, no serious attempt will be madeby the government to attain these overly aggressive targets,” Lord Lawson added.