Thursday, August 30, 2007

Liberal Democrats reveal plans for zero carbon Britain

That's the LibDem headline, not pejorative as in the U.S., note caps.
Following up on the Monbiot story below, we have a political (everything human is political, isn't it) prescription (proscription).

Liberal Democrats reveal plans for zero carbon Britain
28 August 2007

The Liberal Democrats today revealed radical proposals to transform Britain into an international leader in tackling climate change, making the country carbon neutral by 2050.

The measures, which will be debated at the party’s conference in Brighton next month, strengthen the Liberal Democrats’ position as the only major political party with specific proposals designed to face the challenge of climate change.

Proposals in the paper ‘Zero Carbon Britain - Taking a Global Lead’ include:

  • Major improvements to the rail network and the construction of a high speed rail line, paid for by tolling lorries on motorways
  • A commitment to 100 per cent carbon free, non-nuclear electricity by 2050
  • The use of green taxes to make the polluter pay, using the revenue to cut income tax
  • Introducing ‘green mortgages’ to enable people to make their homes more energy efficient

LibDem Press Release

And from the Policy Paper, a couple things that caught my eye:

An unfortunate name- "Working for the establishment of an International Leapfrog Fund..."

Liberal Democrats oppose the Labour Government’s plan to build a new generation of
nuclear power plants. Nuclear power remains an excessively expensive form of energy generation that requires some type of public subsidy, if only to place a cap on liabilities.

Building a new round of nuclear power plants will lock this country into centralised and inflexible electricity generation, crowd out investment in renewable energy, microgeneration and CCS and undermine our efforts to promote energy saving. Nuclear generation will continue to produce toxic waste for which there are still no safe and acceptable solutions.

Placing pre-approval restrictions on the power of vehicles, to curb the tendency towards building fuel-inefficient vehicles.

5.1.11 Liberal Democrats would provide energy companies with incentives to make more money by selling less energy. We would reform the Energy Efficiency Commitment so that the amount of energy that energy companies could sell to residential housing gradually reduces from year to year.

We would allocate each company a total quantity of energy sales to residential customers depending on past sales and this would decline each year, allowing some flexibility in the event of major variations in climate conditions. If the energy company sold more than its allocation, it would have to buy that allocation from someone else. If it sold less, it could sell part of its own allocation for profit.

Personal Carbon Allowances
Proposals for personal carbon allowances involve using a national emissions cap and allocating emissions rights, as carbon credits, across the population as a whole. People would give up their credits when they bought electricity, gas or transport fuel. The allowances would be tradable: people who wanted to emit more could buy credits from those who emit less.

Such a proposal has a number of advantages. In conjunction with other measures they could guarantee a certain reduction in carbon emissions. At the same time, some important issues need to be resolved. For instance, such a scheme could exacerbate fuel poverty, at least until our proposals for energy efficiency had taken effect.

Liberal Democrats would examine the potential benefits of introducing a system of tradable personal carbon allowances, including the implications for carbon savings, fuel poverty, civil liberties and the public finances.

Here's the whole thing. 46 page PDF.
It's worth a read, some good ideas, some not so good.

Just a heads-up, I intend to be the Carbon King. The Emissions Emir.
Politics ain't about jibber-jabber;
it's about the power to make people do what you want.
Politics is not about the base, politics are base.

Here's some commentary from The Guardian.

Is a zero-carbon Britain possible?

It gets awfully chilly when someone steals your clothes. The Liberal Democrats, who have a long tradition of advocating bold environmental policies, have got used to being left shivering outside in recent times as both Labour and the Conservatives battle for the title "Greenest Party in Britain". But the fightback began in earnest this week, with Menzies Campbell announcing to the country that he and his party have a unique dream (for a mainstream political party, at least) of achieving a "zero-carbon Britain" by 2050.

What, you didn't notice? Yesterday's Guardian, for example, carried the news at the bottom of page eight (enveloped by an advert for cheap holidays abroad, no less), whereas it barely warranted a mention on the television news bulletins. It didn't help that the Conservatives were already wise to the Liberal Democrats' major policy announcement, because details had slipped out a week earlier. They were thus able to steal some of the Lib Dems' thunder by simultaneously releasing details of their own new greened-up transport policy....