Sunday, May 13, 2007

Soft target

Taking time off from massaging easyJet's overblown eco ego, South Shields MP and Environment Secretary David Miliband yesterday hosted the "Climate Change Citizens' Summit" in London, with the objective of highlighting "the need for government, business and consumers to work together to reduce CO2 emissions." Sounds like a great idea - let's get citizens involved in working out solutions to our rising carbon emissions. But there seems some confusion over contexts here though - was it a citizens' summit or a consumers' summit? It seems like our Government doesn't know the difference between a citizen and a consumer, which is disturbing.

And hold on, which citizens were attending? Apparently, they were "...a representative sample of 150 people, recruited from six locations around the country...". I'm sure the citizen representatives are righteous people, but how 150 hand-picked people out of a population of 65 million can be termed as 'representative' is difficult to comprehend.

I'm hoping that the event wasn't managed to achieve preferred outcomes - ie giving the Government the opinions it wants - but given the history of this Government I may be being a little optimistic.

If the nu-Lab command and control machine does have the climate change Bill in it's sights then we can say good-bye to the controls that a coherent Climate Change Bill requires like annual targets and ministerial accountability.

But considering that Richard Lambert, Director General of the CBI and Brendan Barber, General Secretary of the TUC were speakers at the event I've got to wonder if it's part of an attempt to warp the Bill to be as business friendly and pro-nuclear as possible. I know it's important to get business buy-in in the battle against climate change, but self interest groups like the CBI already have an enviable level of access to Government, and when they're given the keys to influencing supposedly 'representative' events like this it's reasonable to suspect the Government is putting the interests of it's chums in business before saving the planet.

Given the Government's policy of appeasement towards the road building lobby and the aviation industries despite the increases in emissions, at the moment there's little hope of what is needed - a strong government not afraid of using regulation to do what we need to survive.

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