John Redwood presses Europe Minister on Climate Change Targets

Yesterday in Parliament John Redwood urged the Europe Minister to see that targets on carbon emissions are not producing the desired results. The exchange with the Minister, taken from Hansard, follows.

<strong>Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): </strong>If the EU is making such progress, why is it that several EU countries will not meet their Kyoto targets, and why are carbon emissions going up in Britain?

<strong>Mr. Murphy:</strong> The UK is the first and so far the only country to have set binding targets for reducing carbon emissions. We are leading the way in Europe and throughout the world, but carbon emissions can be reduced only through international co-operation. We cannot set up a patriotic front against climate change, as such change does not recognise the national boundaries and borders that the right hon. Gentleman seems to believe in. In fact, I understand that he opposes the binding targets on carbon emissions.


  1. Simon_C
    January 9, 2008

    The problem I have with national targets for carbon emitions is that there's a huge pressure to distort things.

    Buying new low-carbon things that are manufactured in other countries helps the UK carbon footprint, but not the world wide one. The new items still have to be manufactured, (generating carbon) and shipped to us (generating more carbon). These aren't captured anywhere in the carbon emitions system, as there is no measuring of a countries "carbon importing".

    Also, the item it replaces also has to be disposed of (generating yet more carbon). but nowhere is there any information available to allow consumers (or anyone else) to make a judgement if it is worth replacing that item or not.

  2. Dr Dan H.
    January 9, 2008

    The other problem with carbon targets (apart from the lack of evidence of warming thus far) is that even while the UK beggars its self to meet the targets, China and the USA will completely ignore them.

    So, whilst we get poorer they get richer, and we get to field the refugees from said richer countries. This is not a smart situation to get into. What we should instead be doing is trying to mitigate the inevitable effects of global warming such as sea level rise, agricultural disruption and increased numbers of refugees so that when these effects occur we're all ready for them and can survive with few ill effects.

    Very strongly promoting the recycling of any and all carbon that is already in the Carbon Cycle is one thing we should be doing. Sewage solids, agricultural wastes, carbon-containing rubbish; all these can be turned into hydrocarbons like methane, which we're already set up to use as fuels (and we've already got the hazchem handling of such fuels completely sorted, unlike the nightmare that is hydrogen).

    Part of this promotion of recycling must be the near-removal of regulatory costs. Currently, to run a biogas plant turning slurry into methane an inspection costing over a thousand pounds is needed, with yearly repeat safety inspections costing close to this. This regulatory burden completely swallows the profit from such an operation, and if it ain't profitable people simply won't do it. Similarly recycling old packaging and cardboard to heat a business is uneconomic since this packaging is classed as waste, and thus a waste-handling licence is needed to burn it.

    All of this is mindless, gormless following of rules over and above common sense. It needs to stop; this isn't making anything safer or more economic.

  3. Daan Vreugdenhil
    March 7, 2008

    One of the most urgent and yet effective way of slowing down the release of CO2 in the admosphere is by effectively protecting forests and coral reefs in nature reserves and protected areas and thus preventing them from going up in CO2 blasting flames. This has been elaborated at my blog and and
    Moreover, this would be the only hope of preserving maybe 50% of the species on earth in the course of this century. If this does not get achieved in the next 3 decades a large portion of the carbon fixed in these forests will go up in the air. To prevent this is far cheeper than planting new forests. No government in the world nor WWF or other international conservation organizations are addressing the issue of how to achieve that effectively. Please read about this on our Adopt A Ranger website.

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