Feeds

Brown pledges to be greener than greens

Saving the planet, one opinion poll at a time

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.