Carbon Diary: Labour fronts up climate change
No going back on the 15% renewable energy target. New powers for councils as energy providers as well as savers. The EU to back a new Kyoto Protocol after 2012. If the TUC welcomes these national and international highlights in Labour’s manifesto, there’s also no doubt that it’ll all mean scaling up the active role of Government.
These are collective demands on us all, but especially on Government to show leadership. The 15% renewables target alone is a huge challenge. Installing a Green Investment Bank with much greater funding than currently envisaged becomes even more urgent. And bringing in new players, like local authorities as low carbon energy suppliers and loft insulators.
It’s ambitious stuff, reminiscent of municipal power companies of old:
- “We will devolve power to local councils to hold energy companies to account for community energy efficiency programmes.”
- “Give them powers to develop local energy systems such as renewables and district heating.”
The international agenda is most intersting. At the launch last week of the Government’s post-Copenhagen strategy, Beyond Copenhagen, Ed Miliband spoke of the need to recognise the Accord as a “living document, so we need to deliver and build on the commitments it made”. In Copenhagen, nations from the South saw moves to drop the Kyoto Protocol as a roadblock to a new treaty. Labour wants to reassert Europe’s leadership role, in the call for the EU set a 30% emissions reduction target by 2020. This would mean the UK increasing its own 2020 target to 34%.
Labour is now saying, “Europe should agree a second Kyoto commitment period, provided all countries are brought within a clear legal framework.”
Additional and sustainable funding will also be needed for a new climate treaty. Labour is proposing “climate assistance additional to our commitment to provide 0.7% of national income in overseas aid. No more than 10%of our aid will be counted towards climate finance.”
Labour also flags up the “tiny group of far-right parties [in Europe] that endorses extreme views and is stuck in climate-change denial.” They could have added the very annoying Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is today back on its old track of climate change talks in Bonn collapsing.