As a result of a massive civil society campaign, the UK will soon pass historic legislation which will bind the government to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. However a major loophole remains which threatens the credibility of the Bill – there is no limit on the amount of international credits the UK can buy up in order to meet this target. Will this loophole be closed before the law is given Royal Assent?
- Eliot Whittington (Christian Aid)
- Martyn Williams (Friends of the Earth)
- Steve Webb MP (Liberal Democrats)
- Dr Alice Bows (Tyndall Centre)
It is clear that we need to display greater commitment to tackling climate domestically if we are to have a credible voice in international negotiations. The leadership demonstrated in the commissioning of the Stern Review and bringing forward the Climate Change Bill is in danger of being undermined by policies such as airport expansion plans or an over-reliance on international credits in meeting domestic emission reduction commitments – Environment Audit Committee, July 2008
We urge caution about the use of international carbon credits. The argument that a tonne of carbon reduced abroad is the same as a tonne of carbon reduced at home is an over-simplification of a complex issue. Permitting the use of too many international carbon credits will drive down the cost of carbon, but this will also make renewables and air pollution targets more expensive to reach and potentially slow down the long term shift to a low-carbon economy in the UK – Environment Audit Committee, July 2008
It looks like between one and two thirds of all the total CDM offsets do not represent actual emission cuts – David Victor, Stanford University
If the rest of the developed world followed the pathway envisaged in the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Bill, dangerous climate change would be inevitable – United Nations Development Programme
In June 2008 a press release by UK development charity Christian Aid announced that the government had “eviscerated” the Climate Change Bill – a potentially groundbreaking piece of legislation which will put greenhouse gas reduction targets into UK law. The UK government had announced its intention to remove key ammendments that have been made by the House of Lords.
We speak to Eliot Whittington, Christian Aid’s senior advisor on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, about their concerns and how they might be addressed. They include:
- an outdated target of 60% reduction in CO2 by 2050
- removal of a reference to the 2C global threshold
- shipping and aviation still not included
- no limit on the amount of carbon credits that can be bought to meet targets
- removal of an obligation on UK companies to disclose their carbon footrpint
We interview Environment Secretary, David Miliband, and get informed comment from Dr Alice Bows (Tyndall Centre) and Martyn Williams (senior parliamentary campaigner, Friends of the Earth).
- Why is the government using a target that is based on outdated science?
- Why does the Bill allow the UK to meet 50% of its targets by buying up emissions credits from abroad?
- Why aren’t emissions from aviation and shipping included in the Bill?
Climate Change Bill Update & International Demos for Action on Climate Change
This week we bring you an update on the massive civil society campaign for legislation that would bind future governments in the UK to annual emissions cuts. We speak to Martyn Williams, Senior Parliamentary Campaigner of Friends of the Earth who has been intimately involved with the development of the campaign.
We also speak to Phil Thornhill, founder and national co-ordinator of the Campaign Against Climate Change, about the international demonstrations that will take place in some 50 countries around the world this Saturday, 4th November – the eve of the United Nations climate change talks in Nairobi, Kenya.
After the G8, we ask Michael Meacher MP, former environment minister; Bob Ward, spokesperson, Royal Society; and Simon Retallack, International Climate Change Taskforce/IPPR: what is the pathway now for achieving the international agreement we urgently need to avoid the worst effects of climate change?
We assess the final G8 communique and action plan on climate change and look beyond to the UN talks in Montreal starting 28 November where serious post-Kyoto talks will begin.
We also look at a major new report looking at the link between oil extraction and debt in developing countries and the Climate Change Bill – launched at the House of Commons today (13th July 2005) by Michael Meacher MP – which would make annual CO2 reductions binding. The bill is supported by a coalition of organisations including WWF, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Transport 2000, Help the Aged and World Development Movement.
For more on the Climate Change Bill campaign see: www.thebigask.com