Perfidious Albion and climate change

Targets, measured in expected outcomes, rather than actual measures are the world’s favourite way to attempt to slow down the pace of climate change, and the targets are different in different parts of the world. The world’s most populous fastest growing nations have virtually no targets, and the world’s less populous but highly developed countries have the most targets.

I personally doubt whether targets are the right way of addressing global warming; there are two difficulties with targets. The first difficulty is that targets can be hit by a variety of “weapons” and what counts under the present system of targets is only whether the target is hit or not, rather than whether the weapon has made an effective hit.

The second problem is that targets are constructed by humans and not science; their construction involves all kinds of compromise and often having been constructed once are redesigned so as to be easier to hit, as though the form of hitting the target was more important than its substance.

Nevertheless, targets are the only game in town, when it comes to national policy of fighting climate change, so good or bad, that is all we have.

In Europe, top of the list of the nations that redesign targets to suit their own convenience rather than the purpose of the target itself is good old perfidious Albion. Albion wants targets on clean energy in new homes to be optional, rather than compulsory. Optional, rather than compulsory targets are no targets at all. There is simply no point in having optional targets, but this is what the United Kingdom has been lobbying hard for at the European Union.

Clearly the Government thinks that it is the United Kingdom’s interest to avoid expenditure on climate change measures, thereby making the country more competitive with its European partners, but if everyone adopted that position all targets and climate change measures would be optional and being expensive no one would adopt any measures to delay or stop global warming.

Now that would be a great victory for the exquisite civil servants who have protected their respective employers’ interests in the very short term, but a devastating defeat for all the people who live in the world, as it risks being irrevocably ruined for human habitation by the short term vision of those that have been elected to govern its nations.

These environmental scoundrels are aping the short term concepts of the worst excesses of the hedge fund spivs. Like the now failed city institutions we are speculating for short term gain, not with other people’s money but other people’s lives.

Gordon Brown and his cronies criticise bankers’ bonuses which are undeserved because they risked the long term survival of their employer by taking risks with money entrusted to their employers. Those risks failed in the end and so did the employer.

The politicians of the Government of the United Kingdom deserve the same criticism for the sepculations they take with climate change. They are attempting to water down the rather ineffective instruments that they have already agreed to use to fight climate change. The instruments may be weak but they are all that we have.

The United Kingdom is now lobbying for aviation to be excluded from the European Union’s target of 20% renewable energy by 2020 – just twelve years hence. If you take aviation out of the renewable energy target you reduce the target from 20% to 18.5%.

John Hutton’s DBERR claims that because the biofuels case is not yet decided it is best to take aviation out but of course DBERR speaks with a forked tongue.

What they mean, when you analyse what they say, is that we don’t need a target of 20% by 2020, a target of 18.5% will do just as well. Of course the fact that we do not understand the environmental and climate change consequences of using biofuel in aviation is irrelevant to a climate change target.

Mr Hutton’s boss, Gordon Brown, agreed 20%, not 18.5% and if you cannot get your head around what biofuel does then reduce emissions elsewhere until you figure out the biofuel position. When you do figure out the biofuel position you can take measures against aviation, but still count aviation’s emissions in the target unless, of course, you stop all aircraft from flying.

Odder still, Mr Hutton’s people have argued that nuclear and the as yet undiscovered “clean” coal should be classified as renewable energy; perhaps they have found some way that coal or uranium can somehow like the sun and the wind keep on regenerating itself after it is spent. Assuming that they have not discovered the undiscoverable, it rather gives the game away and exposes the perfidy being committed to the whole world.

They have also argued that renewable energy outside the United Kingdom should count towards UKtargets. If you read the recent renewable consultation paper you will see that the consultees are being directed to the concept that we may legitimately save emissions in the UK by building a wind farm or biomass plant in Africa, which of course does not save any emissions, merely prevent new emissions possibly arising.

Perfidious Albion! It will even use the very thing that threatens in the long term the survival of life on earth for short term gain, just like those bankers and hedge fund managers.



2 Responses

  1. You are, of course, absolutely right. ALL governments and their Civil Service departments (in fact all bureaucrats) only ever look at targets and how to “massage” the figures, or “bend” the rules in order to meet those targets. Nothing of what they do looks at the AIM of what they are doing.

    I know it’s another topic, but I think it provides a good example: looked at from an administrative point of view (and this IS being considered) if you want to ensure that a smaller proportion of the population is obese, then the simple answer is to stop providing any or all medical treatment for fat people. That way the proportion will be reduced – the fact that you’ve effectively killed off half the population doesn’t come into their equasion!

    Personally, whilst global warming is clearly a fact and it is also true that humans are responsible for greenhouse gasses, the link to my mind is at best tenuous. I’m yet to be convinced that we can do anything significant to stop global warming.

    However, that individual view doesn’t mean that I think we have to make a bad situation worse, so where are the plans to build, or encourage hydrogen fill-up stations to replace the petrol (or whatever other fuels we decide are most beneficial)? Why did we do away with much of our original nuclear power generation plans when it is relatively polution free – at least from a climate change point of view?

    Do we NEVER think things through and then do what is RIGHT rather than what LOOKS politically expedient..

    • Or, taking your point further, we could simply redefine the defintion of obese! That would work!

      The link between human behaviour and climate change (or more accurately rapid climate change) in my view is there, but not proven beyond doubt. There are some misleading claims out there by those that don’t believe cliamte change, and some claims (for example polar bears numbers are increasing even though we’re hunting them) which have nothing to do with climate change. The odd cold winter or hot summer is evidence of wetaher, not climate.


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