The Poll in the Observer shows how much more sensible the public are about climate change than many of the governments. On a weekend when our Prime Minister jets off to the Middle East to ask them to pump more oil out of the ground to lower the price the public are right to be cynical about their governmentâ€™s commitment to curbing their own emissions. When the UK government imposes far more tax on petrol than the oil companies and producing countries charge for their product the public understand that the government is using green taxes as a convenient way of raising revenue. It is merely posturing about the price because people are now finding it hard to pay for lifeâ€™s necessities.
Whilst some people think the pro climate change scientists have had too large an impact on the debate and are not the whole story, the majority still think there is a problem. They are right, however, to be sceptical of the governmentâ€™s intention to do something about its own insatiable appetite for travel, heating, air-conditioning and other energy uses. I have been tabling questions to try to find out just how much progress is being made in each Whitehall department. The information does not come out readily or in similar format department by department, as their experiences are very varied. It is most important that the government leads by example and shows the rest of us how to curb our energy bills, at a time when the price of energy is causing public-spending stresses, let alone the carbon argument.
Gordon Brown has not explained why he wants to drive energy prices up through taxation and regulation, and at the same time try to bring them back down a little by persuading oil producers elsewhere to produce more. There is a contradiction at the heart of government policy which can only be explained by understanding that this is a Spend Spend government crazy to get your money, which needs ever more green taxes to take the cash from you. Horrified at the polls showing how people are hurting thanks to high energy prices and taxes, the government then poses for the cameras saying it wants others to take the price pressure off.
I support practical greenery. To me it makes sense to waste less, insulate more, reuse where possible, develop carbon and fuel reducing technologies for space heating and personal travel, and invest in alternatives to carbon based energy because of the rising price and growing scarcity. What we want from our government are commonsense proposals and action in all these fields, rather than more carbon burning stunts travelling the world in search of a foreigner to blame for our woes.