British Tory leader pledges to do more on climate than Blair

by William Yeatman on September 14, 2004

in Kyoto Negotiations, Politics

 On September 13, the day before Prime Minister Blairs speech outlined above, the leader of Britains opposition Conservative Party gave a major speech that accused Blair of not doing enough on global warming.  Michael Howard, M. P., pledged that a future Tory government would do much more to implement policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom and internationally.

 Howard said, The instinct of our prime minister is to lecture people.  But on his watch CO2 emissions have actually risen.  He has set ambitious long-term targets for CO2 emissions reductions, but few people outside government believe that there is a coherent plan for achieving them.

 The Conservative leader also contrasted Blairs failure to persuade the Bush Administration to ratify the Kyoto Protocol with his success in 1992 in persuading President George Bush to attend the Earth Summit and to sign the U. N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.  One of the greatest challenges I faced as Secretary of State for the Environment was to persuade the Americans to participate in the first Earth Summit.  I vividly remember my 24 hours of shuttle diplomacy in Washington before the Rio Summit, ending with me in the White House persuading the Americans not just to attend, but to sign up to the climate change convention, the forerunner of Kyoto.

 Howard then laid out his plans to address global warming if his party were voted into office at the next election.  They include re-asserting [Britains] international leadership, creating a global cap-and-trade emissions scheme, renewing the drive for a diverse renewable energy sector, and re-focusing on increased energy efficiency.  His government would demand that global carbon trading be rigorously policed.  In addition, Howard promised to phase out by 2014 the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which replaced chlorofluorocarbons in refrigeration and air conditioning as a result of the Montreal Protocol.

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