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Govt. places too much faith in the power of the market to mitigate climate change (Independent UK)

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Mar-13-07 10:17 PM
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Govt. places too much faith in the power of the market to mitigate climate change (Independent UK)
Edited on Tue Mar-13-07 10:19 PM by marmar
Leading article: A turning point for Britain
The Government places too much faith in the power of the market on its own to mitigate climate change

Published: 14 March 2007
Something unusual has happened in British politics. On social issues, David Cameron's Conservatives seem to believe in the power of exhortation to effect change. They argue that the state must take a back seat. The Government believes the opposite, and its record over the past decade has demonstrated a faith in an active state. Yet when it comes to the approach of the two parties to climate change, these positions are reversed. Here, it is the Tories who are making the case for a more activist approach from the state, while the Government seems content to offer gentle persuasion.

Tony Blair has done a good job in pushing the issue of climate change up the international agenda. The G8 meeting in Gleneagles in 2005 was a serious effort to get the fast-growing developing nations of the world, such as China and India, to the negotiating table. When regime change finally occurs in the White House, there is a reasonable chance that a successor to the Kyoto protocol can be implemented. But for all of this good work abroad, Mr Blair has achieved little on climate change at home.

Britain may be on course to exceed our emission-reduction targets under Kyoto. But in recent years, the UK's emissions have been rising again. In this context the publication of a draft Climate Change Bill yesterday that will set out a target of reducing the UK's carbon emissions by 60 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050 is, of course, welcome. If this Bill is passed, Britain will become the first country to have reductions targets enshrined in law. It will establish an independent committee to monitor progress, with the prospect of sanctions if governments fail to meet the targets. The Bill will also introduce powers for the Government to bring sectors such as transport into emissions trading schemes.

All this is good news. But it is worth remembering that the Government would never have brought forward yesterday's Bill were it not for the fact that green issues, so often highlighted by this newspaper, have finally risen to the top of the political agenda. And we should bear in mind that the Bill simply sets a target to hit in the future. It contains none of the contentious measures that will actually be needed to bring emissions down, let alone annual targets. Even if one accepts the Government's argument that a cap and trade system is the right approach, ministers will have to set very strict caps to achieve results. That will be when the tough decisions have to be made. .....(more)

The complete piece is at:

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JohnWxy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 04:55 PM
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1. This "letting the marketplace" alone to handle it, is so much BS. In the U.S. we subsidize oil
making it much cheaper than it would be without the subsidies. Without the subsidies, in the U.S. estimates of what gas would cost vary but range from $5.50 per gallon AND UP. If there weren't these subsidies we would have been developing alternative (and green) fuels long ago.

where this probably would not work is with coal. It's cheap but dirty. But with IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) technology we could clean up coal but the Utilities don't want to spend the extra cost to build these plants. They are 20% more expensive to build than conventional coal fired plants but 15% more economical to operate. The increased investment would be recovered in a few years, yet utililties won't build then unless they are forced to with a carbon tax.

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