Great Britain at sea over global warming programs

by William Yeatman on August 3, 2004

in Politics

A new report from Cambridge Econometrics finds that, “The [British] governments 20 percent domestic carbon-reduction goal is likely to be missed by a large margin” (Bloomberg News, July 30). The forecasters suggest that emissions will only be 12.3 percent down on 1990 levels. Emissions from power generation will drop by 5.5 percent, but emissions from domestic and transportation sources will rise.

The study also found that United Kingdom participation in the controversial European Union emissions-trading plan alone won’t be enough to cut British emissions to the government target, although it did conclude that the UK is “expected easily to meet its target under the Kyoto Protocol” (to reduce emissions by 12.5 percent by 2012 from 1990 levels).

Cambridge Econometrics also concluded that emissions from road transport will rise by 14 percent by 2010 from 1990 levels.

In related news, the Guardian reported (July 29) that the UK government is to, “press on with plans to build 120,000 homes in the Thames Gateway flood plain despite accepting the increased chance of flooding disasters due to global warming.” The announcement said that, “New homes on floodplains would have to be sited and designed to ensure that they were flood resilient.”

This action, placing current needs over future worries, may reflect the current state of public opinion in the UK. A BBC poll (taken in mid-July to coincide with a series of BBC television programs pushing the alarmist case on global warming) found that climate change finished at the bottom of a list of seven “important issues” facing the UK, below even immigration. Of the respondents, 53 percent thought Britain would be affected “only a little” or “not at all” by climate change. Finally, while most respondents said that they would be willing to change their lifestyles to combat global warming, only low-cost options were popular. A mere 37 percent would be willing to pay more for gasoline.

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