Feeds

Brown pledges to be greener than greens

Saving the planet, one opinion poll at a time

High performance access to file storage

Are we on the brink of a green revolution? One as world changing as the Industrial Revolution, or the invention of the microprocessor? According to Britain's prime minister, Gordon Brown, we had better be.

In yesterday's speech about climate change, Brown took on the question of how we should tackle climate change with a surprisingly robust tone. But although much of his speech was welcomed by environmentalists, he is not without his critics.

Speaking at a conference hosted by wildlife charity WWF, he announced that he supported plans to banish the plastic bag from Britain's shores. He announced that he wanted to meet with key industry players to discuss how to phase out use of the oil-hungry, unrecyclable bags as part of a wide-ranging speech on all issues green.

Britain has committed to EU targets of 20 per cent from renewables by 2020, but Brown said our carbon reduction targets could mean that figure would have to rise as high as 40 per cent in the same period.

These announcements are particularly surprising since recent leaks from Whitehall have revealed civil servants plotting to find ways to wriggle out of existing renewables targets. They also come hot on the heels of news that the government's key "green" agency, the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs is facing massive budget cuts.

Environmentalists said the figures proposed by the prime minister were unlikely to be reachable without substantial investment in renewables. Critics also noted that the government is going to miss its interim target of reducing carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010. Environment minister Hillary Benn confirmed this, saying the reduction would be in the region of 16 per cent.

It is not clear how much renewable power Brown hopes to reach with the aid of nuclear power stations, but he noted that plans would include new wind farms, and investment in tidal and wave power as well.

Brown continued in his green vein, announcing an independent climate committee to consider whether Britain should also raise its carbon reduction targets beyond those outlined in the new Climate Change Bill.

This piece of legislation obliges us, as a nation, by 2050 to reduce our carbon footprint to just 40 per cent of what it was back in 1990. Now Brown says he wants to consult on whether that should be more like 20 per cent, so developing nations could continue to grow their economies before worrying about going green.

"Developed countries may have to reduce their emissions by up to 80 per cent. We will put this evidence to the committee on climate change and ask it to advise us... whether our own domestic target should be tightened up to 80 per cent," he told delegates.

Hitting the targets will require a revolution, he said, but sounded optimistic notes about this, too. Cars will become cleaner thanks to new technology, he said. And Britain will press the EU to tighten up on efficiency regulations for cars sold in that region. Plans are already afoot to introduce legislation to limit emissions for 130g/km by 2012, but Brown pledged to lobby for an upper limit of 100g/km by 2020. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
New FEMTO-MOON sighted BIRTHING from Saturn's RING
Icy 'Peggy' looks to be leaving the outer rings
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.