"That this House believes it is vital that the UK demonstrates political leadership at all levels in response to the climate crisis, and that this is particularly important ahead of the United Nations Climate Change summit in Copenhagen if there is to be an international agreement which will avert the worst effects of catastrophic climate change; further believes that immediate practical responses to the crisis should include a massive expansion of renewable energy and energy efficiency and a commitment for all homes in Britain to be warm homes within ten years; acknowledges that action taken now to tackle the climate crisis will cost less than action taken in the future; notes the declared support of Labour and Conservative frontbenchers to the objective of the 10:10 campaign which calls for 10 per cent greenhouse gas emission reductions by the end of 2010; agrees that the House will sign up to the 10:10 campaign; calls on Her Majesty’s government and all public sector bodies now to make it their policy to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2010; and further calls on the government to bring a delivery plan before this House by the end of 2009 on how these objectives will be achieved."
Looks pretty much like what the Lib Dems called for at our Autumn conference. However, Michael's opening salvo in his email back to me was:
"I support the 10:10 proposal, but sadly the Lib Dems in the UK parliament have decided to make it a point scoring exercise rather than getting cross party support on a useful target to try to set public authorities, councils and Quangos. I have spoken to your Scottish MPs about their Party's sillyness."
But surely I read in the above 'calls on Her Majesty’s government and all public sector bodies now to make it their policy to achieve a 10 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2010'. So Michael do you support 10:10 or not? I merely ask as that is the core of the message in a nutshell and is what Government can legislate for. If not what useful target do you want to set public authorities, councils and Quangos? Be careful how you answer that as even I recognise that the 10% is going to have to be achieved through tough measures. So higher seems unlikely, therefore I'm guessing based on the past 12 years experience you'll be asking less.
There's even acknowledgement that both the other major parties front bench teams have given their backing to the objective of 10:10. The fact that they have and have yet to talk about, let alone bring a delivery plan to be is an issue that needs to be addressed.
What draws me back to the subject I blogged about earlier was that Labour Internet Tsar Kerry McCarthy MP tweeted about a stronger Labour amendment that she would be backing. She's not alone, Plymouth MP Linda Gilroy used surprising similar language to that of Michael Connarty and Kerry. Indeed she says:
"I think the Lib Dems are playing politics with something that should be above politics.
"I would hope to be in a position to vote for a strong motion as amended by the Government to reflect the leadership role it continues to play. We were the first country in the world to put into law such a comprehensive framework."
So let me get this right as the motion may not reflect the strong leadership (see the graphs from earlier folks) that Labour have given they will not be backing a 10% reduction in public sector CO2 emissions in the next 14 months. The reason I stumbled across Mrs Gilroy's comments was of course trying to find the wording of the Labour amendment. Silly me after yesterday's I should have guessed that was a vain hope.
Piecing two and two together, it would appear that the amendment will be looking for a useful target to be set. By that I'm guessing they'll not impose 10% by the next year, maybe even leave it up to individual departments to come to their own figure. It will praise the Labour Government for setting targets, buying carbon credits, holding off doing much constructively until near the target dates. After all a landing on the magic figure however it is achieved is better than not setting the targets at all, right? Wrong.
The longer we put off reducing our emissions on target for the final deadline the closer the unfortunate deadlines move forward too. Those unfortunate deadlines include the earth's temperature rising, climate being irreversibly changed and weather patterns being distorted. The irony for the UK is that global warming is liable to lead to a UK cooling and the Atlantic Drift Current diverts away from our shores.
I look forward to seeing the wording of the Government amendment I doubt it is as clearly put as the Lib Dem motion and therein lies the crux of just who is playing party politics with the climate. Are Labour really above politics in this issue themselves, or are they just wanting to count up past points ignoring demerits in their own achievements?