Which nation leads on climate change?

There are plenty of heads of Government boasting about their renewable low carbon energy policies.  Mr Obama has built a career on being (amongst other things) a committed environmentalist.  Gordon Brown is claiming to be the first Government that has made it illegal not to comply with very ambitious climate change carbon reduction targets. Other leaders say that they are similarly committed to fighting climate change. However, when you look at whether they have put our money where their mouths are, the picture becomes much clearer when freed from the political spin and propaganda. All major governments have had to create an economic stimulus package of one kind or another, to bail out the failed banking system and to (we hope) set the economy firmly on the road to recovery.

One useful test, as I have said, is how much of these economic stimulus measures paid for by our taxes is actually going to green initiatives. Of course there is some doubt as to what constitutes a green initiative; the car scrappage schemes in the USA, Germany and the UK were more about savings jobs in the car industry rather than saving the planet from excess carbon emissions. Nevertheless, assuming that these were green initiatives here is the league table of those countries who have put their tax payers money into green spending, taken as a proportion of their economic stimulus package.

Top of the table is South Korea, who is spending a whopping 79% of its stimulus money on green initiatives. In second place is China, with 34%. In third place comes Norway, rich in natural gas, who has nevertheless committed to spend 30% of its stimulus on green programmes.  In a rather miserable fourth place comes France, with 18%.

After that we have to look at the bottom of the lower division to find well known names. The UK manages to commit only 15%; not enough to win promotion this year, or indeed any years. Germany is spending 13%, and in the USA under Mr Obama the figure is only 12%.

There is a big difference between allocating a sum and spending it in Government terms. Looking at the UK stimulus package it seems to me that the incentives for stimulating a green economy are not doing that; much of the moneis already available for green energy subisidies are not taken up, because they are not sufficient to persuade people to spend the rest of the moeny and there is no compulsion to reduce carbon emissions in areas where it matters.

It is clear from this that having been in a position where these developed economies had to create an economic stimulus package to “kick start” the economy most nations, despite their pretensions on climate change leader, ignore the opportunity to spend economic stimulus money on the green economy. It is a rather appalling indictment, isn’t it?

When we look to leadership on climate change actions count more than words and laws; the clear leader in this field is South Korea, followed by China and Norway. I suspect that in the USA and the UK businesses are confused about climate change policy to say the least.

I Got the figures from an article in the Sunday Times by Tricia Holly Davis who creidted the source as HSBC

3 Responses

  1. This was a really great read, I am very glad I came across your site.

  2. Glad I came back to this site some new very interesting items which I wanted to know more about. Great work on your site.

  3. Godon brown has made it illegal not to comply to this policy, what a very silly idea indeed, facism has come one step closer to controlling the populous, while the rest of the world pollutues in earnest.

    Those countries mentioned who are spending the least are the ones who are importing the most of their energy and the countries that have committed the most are using the money that we are sending them for the cheap imports we are buying from them,

    This will probably mean that the greenest countries will also be the most expensive places to live in, as their carbon taxes rise beyond the level of earnings, must we have yet another unfair tax, while the rich here in the Uk, the ones who have their companies in South Korea and others similar, sit back rubbing their hands and reaping the riches at our cost.

    Its not rocket science, making someone work for nothing whilst giving others something for doing nothing apart from wielding their bank books, hburts everybody dearly.

    Next year our national deficiet is thought to be running at around 800 million, that is what the whole counrty is thought to make in total, a green/carbon tax will come in very handy of getting some of it back won’t it, if we continue down this path we will drive what is left of our manufacturing base to parts forein, countries who allow the pollution we don’t, what a non starter from the off this is for those who now need a job in order of feeding themselves.

    The whole globalisation system must be burried for the good of the majority, passing the money around, chasing the money is destined to fail miserably in the very near future, I have mentioned it before, go have a good look at what happened to the Cuban’s during their special period, the writing and answers are on the wall.

    Sorry for wailing.

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