Bidding up the environment.

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wavepowerstation.jpgUK Ministers have now, like the SNP, seen the light on aviation and shipping. I like to think it has something to do with the killer metaphors deployed against their previous position.

However, a Scottish Government release sent out today suggests that the Nats have again shifted their position to toughen up their proposed bill and outdo Westminster (emphasis mine):

"By including international aviation and shipping, emissions from all six greenhouse gases, and annual targets, Scotland will have the most ambitious Bill to tackle climate change anywhere in the world."

The BBC online seems to miss this aspect of the story, but I'm assured it made the broadcast coverage. Hopefully tomorrow's papers will get into the nitty gritty a bit more.

The SNP did promise annual targets in their 2007 manifesto, but if the targets they have in mind are robust and statutory ones then this is a good step in the right direction, even though the sceptic in me previously wondered if "they [took] it away just so they can look magnanimous by putting it back?"

By now we're in a bidding war, though, and the longer it goes on the more likely it is we'll end up with two really worthwhile Bills. Neither proposal is there yet, and it's now Labour's turn to come back with improvements to the UK legislation.

Here's a couple of tips for both governments for future rounds of bidding. First, the evidence is that we need annual reductions around 4.5%, not the 3% the SNP had in their manifesto. The level of reductions required has risen, too, to cope with the emissions increases over recent years.

Also, there's no plan that sets out how even 3% targets could actually be met. Both Governments are committed to continued fossil fuel dependence for export and for domestic consumption, through policies like airport and motorway expansion. Neither has much of a clue about what a low carbon economy might look like, either, or do they see how successful it could be.

This shouldn't sound too churlish. We're making progress, Ministers are starting to listen, and we've only come this far because of the legions of campaigners and individuals who've made their voices heard. Good work, y'all.

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This page was published on October 27, 2008 2:03 PM.

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