17 May 2011

NYT on UK Climate Policies: Rah! Rah!

Apparently the New York Times could not find a single person to raise questions about the UK's recent commitment to increasing its long-term emissions reduction targets, preferring instead to cheerlead:
Britain is poised to announce some of the world’s most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions — a striking example of a government committing to big environmental initiatives while also pursuing austerity measures. . .

“This is an outstanding example of the kind of action by developed-world countries that’s needed to bring climate change under control,” said Bert Metz, an adviser to the European Climate Foundation, a group in Brussels that advocates lower emissions, and a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It’s also really going to push the British economy in the direction of growth.”
Not shared with readers is the fact that the UK has badly missed its 2010 emissions reduction target, is expected to continue to miss its short-term targets and has set targets but not policies to achieve them.

Ah, details.


  1. It’s also really going to push the British economy in the direction of growth.”

    Growth? Right now, they're screaming towards rolling blackouts. Britain is scheduled to shut down many power plants - due to old age - in the near term, with nothing to replace them. If they wait much longer, they'll either have to keep unsafe old plants running, or start shutting off the lights.

    The good news is that when that happens, heads will be put on spikes. The time to pay the climate piper is coming, and that's a good thing.

  2. I'm going to be the contrarian.

    IMHO The decisions that would lead to a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions could actually hinder getting to 80% reduction. I.E. If you built windmills equal to your load and natural gas backup equal to load you get a big reduction. But now you have a huge investment in natural gas plants that will be around for 40 years.

  3. On the TV news this evening, we were assured that our transition to a new, glorious low-carbon Britain will cost each household at least £50 a year (about 81 USD).

    Yes, somehow, I feel that they are being just a little optimistic. Or disingenuous.

  4. In 2009 Britain generated 6.7 % of its electricity with renewables. I mention electricity because e.g. in WWF low-carbon vision for 2050, electricity generation was doubled from present numbers. Getting rid of fossil fuels often means replacement by eletricity.

    On global scale, burning wood and hydro provide 80% of the current reneables. Neither is a solution for Britain.

    Lots of windmills, LNG?

  5. There's the odd establishment voice raised against the consensus - here from Andrew Turnbull (former head of the UK Civil Service):