The Conservatives had a great policy for cutting carbon outputs. It was called electricity privatisation. As soon as the industry was denationalised, it switched from building big coal power stations that were only around 35% fuel efficient, to building gas fired stations that were more than 50% fuel efficient. The dash for gas in our power industry ensured we could hit the Kyoto targets.
The present government has been unable to come up with a policy which has made a similar big impact on carbon output. They have dithered over nuclear, not put through enough renewables, and left open how they are to replace the old nuclear stations that soon have to be shut. They have failed to discipline the public sector, where the extra offices and staff burn ever more fuel to keep the bureaucracy turning. Ministers jet round the world, lecturing the rest of us on how we should travel less. At times they have adopted policies which seem to want to export fuel intensive activities to other countries, as if that helped cut world carbon output instead of merely shifting it to China or India.
However, they have now come up with a policy which is going to transform all that. It is called recession. It will cut our carbon output. The trouble is, it is going to cut a lot more as well, leading to a big increase in unemployment and a further weakening of our economy.