UK Climate Change bill – debate continues.

WWF have been in contact with The Coffee House as they’re concerned that the UK government isn’t including emissions from shipping and flights into the Climate Change bill.

Both modes of transport are on the increase, particularly shipping, as trade reaches far and wide. Lets face it, almost every non-food stuff we now consume comes from China or a country nearby. That’s a lot of emissions.

More from WWF and their campaign here.

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19 Responses to UK Climate Change bill – debate continues.

  1. earthpal says:

    It sure is a lot of emissions. And much of our food is imported which will never make sense because as we know, it’s possible to be self-sufficient as a country and we should by now be well established at sourcing food as near as possible to where it will finally be consumed.

    The government is fudging on action, that’s for sure. Their targets are woefully inadequate.

    They have said they’ll get the *Committee on Climate Change* to look into whether their target of 60% emissions reduction by 2050 should be strengthened. And they’re going to ask the *committee* to “look at” the implications of including aviation and shipping industry in their review.

    But bear in mind that this *committee* hasn’t even been established yet.

    It’s all lip service. We can trust Gordon Brown as much as we could trust Bliar on climate change.

  2. matt says:

    It’s the business of business. They pay Gordon his taxes after all. I think to be honest it is good that this government has taken it upon themselves to look at introducing a CC bill. No other country has. But of course there’s no point in having one simply as a PR stunt. It has to work so lets engage with the debate.

    The bill may have the potential to change our behaviour if costs trickle down via its various mechanisms to impose hefty charges onto imported goods because of their extra carbon footprint. I agree that food should be locally produced where possible. And other things too. If we are going to use some coal then bloody well mine it here for crying out loud! Importing it from overseas is pure madness.

  3. earthpal says:

    I know. I think I’m just feeling a bit eco-despondent at the moment. Lol.

    Yes, it is good that they’ve introduced this climate bill and do welcome it, of course. I just don’t want it to become more unutilised rhetoric.

  4. Pete Smith says:

    Everyone’s got an axe to grind on this one, now it looks as if the CC Bill may be beefed up, as laid out in the Command Paper published yesterday. This asks the Climate Change Committee to look at increasing the 60% target, and at including aviation and shipping.

    http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/latest/2007/climate-1029.htm
    http://www.stackyard.com/news/2007/10/rural/04_defra_climate_change.html

    The guys at ICount are urging people to tell their MPs to push for their “Top 3 Changes” to the Bill:

    Increase the CO2 reduction target to at least 80% by 2050
    Include aviation and shipping emissions
    Set binding targets with annual milestones

    http://www.icount.org.uk/get_involved/291.asp

  5. Pete Smith says:

    I applaud the idea of UK food self-sufficiency, always have. What bugs me is the response of the international development brigade, who tell us it’s our duty to buy food from developing countries because that’s the only means they have to escape from poverty.

  6. matt says:

    > international development brigade

    Well, we can buy their cocoa. Can’t see anyone giving up chocolate too easily. Mine you, most cocoa comes from Ivory Coast and they aren’t playing ball right now. A few rebels/farmers (?) are causing havoc looking for a price increase for their commodity. I mean, how dare they. 😉

  7. Pete Smith says:

    Well I hardly ever eat chocolate, but I guess coffee would still be a viable import. Tea’s maybe a bit problematic as there are people starting to grow it in the UK now. Apparently this was looked at during WW2 when imports were threatened, but the 6 year lead time on establishing a plantation led them to stockpile dried tea instead.

    http://www.tregothnan.co.uk/tea-faqs/p_309/

    But is that how we really want the world to be, developed countries growing all their own food, with the ‘rest of the world’ being paid a pittance to churn out coffee, cocoa and sugar to feed our addictions? These people should be growing their own food to feed themselves, just as we could.
    And while we’re at it, what about self-sufficiency in Christmas lights, spanners and televisions, and all the other junk we hoover up from the far side of the planet?

  8. matt says:

    After tripping about ye olde countryside last week I suddenly got all nostalgic and wondered out loud why Britain doesn’t go back to manufacturing decent goods that last …. just like they used to. But I remember bringing this up a year ago and at that time I believe you mocked such an idea. 🙂

  9. Pete Smith says:

    A year ago? That would be the old blog. You must have misunderstood, or maybe you got the wrong guy.

    Anyway, I was just pointing out that if you talk about reducing emissions caused by food imports, logically the same argument applies to non-food.

  10. Dave On Fire says:

    the international development brigade, who tell us it’s our duty to buy food from developing countries because that’s the only means they have to escape from poverty.

    I’m not sure you’re being entirely fair there, Pete. There are legitimate concerns about disingenuous ways of blocking food imports. Arundhati Roy complains about how pressure from Europe and elsewhere forced India to open up its grain markets – devastating Indian agriculture and driving tens of thousands of peasant farmers to suicide – but the EU would not reciprocate because it set the health and safety standards so high that almost no Indian flour could enter the market. The US is even worse in misapplying anti-dumping laws.
    Health and safety is a legit. concern, sustainability and sufficiency infinitely more so, but we can recognise that while still being aware that they can be abused. Forgive me, but I don’t reckon the Mail and the Express are into this for reasons of environmental concern! In any case, I think sufficiency in food distribution is as important as production, and our focus should be on sidelining the supermarkets.
    (BTW what do you think of this film?)

    what about self-sufficiency in Christmas lights, spanners and televisions, and all the other junk we hoover up from the other side of the planet

    Sufficiency in manufactured tat would be difficult; sustainability in it would be impossible – almost an oxymoron. There’s a bigger question waiting to be asked there. On the other hand, we may have already passed peak oil production, sooner or later shipping costs will make imported Chinese tat a much less viable option.

  11. Pete Smith says:

    Hi Dave,

    “I’m not sure you’re being entirely fair there, Pete.”

    You’re right, I wasn’t. However, there is a minority who use that kind of argument to make a point. Sometimes it’s not completely clear what that point is 🙂 Obviously, the issues can be as complex or as simplistic as one wants, or is able, to make them.

    “BTW what do you think of this film?”

    Well, I think it’s great, but anything Jim Kunstler gets involved in usually is. It’s all about US suburbia, but there are lessons for everyone in there about the assumptions that are still being made about cheap energy.

  12. matt says:

    Hey it’s official guys; the days of cheap energy are over. I read it somewhere official. 🙂

    As to protected and subsidized farming; the EU & the US are very naughty boys in this department, as we all know. But not only that, they’re bordering on insane. Sugar beet for example is a useless crop along side it’s infinitely better competition, sugarcane.

    Whilst visiting Suffolk last week we saw field after field of sugar beet being harvested. Happy farmers? Sure. Happy consumers? Not when they realise most of their taxes go towards subsidizing such inefficient pap.

  13. Dave On Fire says:

    I meant the other film on that page, about Cuba’s strategy for coping with the energy famine of the 1990s. I should have been more specific, but I reckon it’s right up your street. It’s a lot more optimistic than The End of Suburbia.
    I’ve written to my MP, James “Photoshop” Purnell, though as always I have difficulty hiding my disgust at him and everything he stands for:

    Dear James Purnell,

    The Climate Change Bill is likely to get a second reading in December before being debated in Spring. While it is good to see environmental targets being enshrined in law, the law doesn’t go nearly far enough, and I hope you will do what you can to make it go further. The three following amendments would be particularly welcome.

    1/ A higher 2050 target
    Even Gordon Brown has acknowledged that a 60% cut in emissions may 2050 may not be satisfactory. Some prominent climate scientists go much further than that, and I hope we can commit to at least an 80% cut.

    2/ Binding annual targets
    If a week is a long time in politics, 43 years is an eternity. Few of us are convinced that governments would pay much attention to a 2050 target in setting day-to-day policy. We need legally-binding annual milestones on the way to any 2050 target, or the latter will become just so much “aspirational” PR.
    Incidentally, these milestones will be a great help to the businesses and entrepeneurs whose interests New Labour takes so seriously, and for whom the current uncertainty can only be frustrating.

    3/ Include shipping and aviation
    Currently, emissions from shipping and aviation are excluded from the UK’s emissions total. Given the amount contributed by these sectors, as well as the massive growth currently projected, this makes a mockery of the whole system. I have heard the justification that working out how much of the emissions associated with a flight are attributable to which country are too complex, but this is nonsense: attribute half the emissions to the country of departure and half to the country of arrival.

    The UK is on target to meet its Kyoto targets merely because of the savings inherent in the politically-motivated flight from coal to gas. As coal mining starts to expand once more, and with imminent massive airport expansion, there is a real danger of our emissions rising dramatically without strong government action. Even the U.N., in its latest reports, acknowledges the immense dangers posed by climate change to our very survival as a species, and I trust you will take these concerns as seriously as they merit.

    On an unrelated note, I also hope you take some steps in the aftermath of this Photoshop incident to reassure your constituents that their confidence in you is justified, perhaps by supporting the Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill introduced by Adam Price MP of Plaid Cymru.

    Yours sincerely,

    Dave Sewell

  14. Pete Smith says:

    Depends on your definition of cheap Matt. There are people who say that we’ll look back on the days of $93 a barrel as some kind of golden age.

    http://www.energyandcapital.com/articles/peak+oil-oil+prices-investing/524

    As for sugar beet, that’s all down to history. During the Napoleonic Wars the British blockade of France prevented the import of sugar cane from the Caribbean. In 1812, the French came up with an industrial process to extract sugar from beet on a large-scale, and by the end of the wars over 300 beet sugar mills were operating across Europe.

  15. matt says:

    Pete, that is genuinely fascinating.

    Dave, well done on sending that letter.

  16. Pete Smith says:

    “Pete, that is genuinely fascinating.”

    No smiley Matt, so there’s a chance you might actually mean it.

  17. matt says:

    I do dear boy, I do!

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