British Environment Minister Turns to You Tube To Pimp Carbon Cuts

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


It’s a heartening move. It’s long overdue. And it’s not enough.

The British government today revealed its draft climate bill, with 60% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050–making Britain the first of the heavy hitters to produce a significant plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Britain’s plan will measure emissions against their 1990 levels–like the essentially defunct Kyoto Protocol–while exceeding Kyoto by seeking an average 5.2% cut among developed-world nations by 2012.

From Nature.com:

The plan will involve setting five-year targets for emissions reduction, called ‘carbon budgets’. These targets should see Britain cut its carbon emissions by between 26% and 32% by 2020–exceeding the 20% cuts agreed by many European nations at a summit last week. The United States has no federally mandated emissions targets, although some individual states have set goals.

Again from Nature.com:

It is not clear exactly how the UK targets will be met, although the government has pledged to invest in energy efficiency, home power-generation schemes, renewable-energy technologies, and increased carbon trading. Miliband stressed that individuals will be able to make a difference: “In the end, this isn’t something that governments and businesses can do alone,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that new legislation is not as stringent as many political leaders are seeking:

[California] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has overseen the adoption of similar legislation in California, joined Blair for the launch by satellite link via the ITN network. He said technology and carbon tradeoff partnerships across the globe would allow gains that would not be achievable individually. “This is a huge, huge announcement,” Schwarzenegger said of the proposed British legislation.

Yet California’s regulation is far more ambitious than the British proposal, calling for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. Again from the LA Times:

Many environmental groups also have urged annual targets. Friends of the Earth welcomed the proposed law but called for it to be even stronger, with targeted emission cuts of 3% every year, annual progress reports and taxes on international aviation and shipping emissions. “The government’s current target–a cut in emissions of 60% by 2050–is no longer considered to be a sufficient contribution by the U.K. or other developed countries,” the organization said in a statement.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate