Image courtesy of Tim Waters
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown set out to reiterate his government's green credentials yesterday, stating that he would work to raise his country's profile as a leader in the "technological revolution" to combat global warming. "Tackling climate change represents the greatest of challenges to the world; it is also the greatest of opportunities for Britain. We now have the opportunity to play a leading role in taking the world towards a low-carbon future," he said.
He signaled his willingness to revise the government's commitment to slashing Britain's carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 to 80% - if so advised by the newly created committee on climate change. Speaking before the UN conference on climate change in December, Brown called for the establishment of a post-2012 international framework to replace Kyoto - one that would impose binding caps on emissions in all developed countries.Brown proposed collaborating with the World Bank and other developed countries to create a funding framework that would ease poorer countries' transition to cleaner technologies. He came out in support of a proposal by the EU to include aviation emissions in its cap-and-trade scheme and reiterated his call for all new homes to be zero-emission by 2016. Amongst other things, he would also introduce a carbon trading scheme for businesses and provide free insulation to 5m homes over the next 3 years.
He stressed the underlying economic opportunities he claimed his proposals would help foster, arguing that climate change could provide Britain with "the greatest of opportunities":
"It shows that if tackling climate change represents the greatest of challenges for the world, it is also the greatest of opportunities for Britain. And just as in each of the three previous technological revolutions Britain played a leading role, we now have the opportunity to play a leading role in taking the world towards a low carbon future. It is an opportunity I want this country to seize - a greener Britain where a new green economy provides greater prosperity and high quality jobs even as it protects the environment and provides a better quality of life for all."
Coming in the wake of revelations that the government's climate change department will likely face some steep cuts to its budget, we'd take the British Prime Minister's latest pronouncement with a large grain of salt. All things said, however, it is a solid, ambitious plan; now it remains to be seen if Brown's administration manages to follow through with it.
See also: ::A Great Britain is a Green Britain: Dale Vince Challenges Gordon Brown, ::UK Gives Up Only Months After Signing 'Ambitious' Renewables Targets?, ::New Report Claims a Zero Carbon Britain is Within 20 Years Reach