30 March 2007

Brown's Britain

Sceptic is right to note that Britain's carbon dioxide emissions are now at their highest level since Labour came to power. Today's Independent has an interesting analysis as to why, despite government targets and Tony Blair's apparent convictions about the threat posed by global warming, our greenhouse gas emissions are soaring:

Mr Blair has not been in charge of British domestic policy for the past 10 years. The man who has been in charge is Gordon Brown (a fact startlingly confirmed in a devastatingly frank interview earlier this month by Mr Brown's one-time top official, Lord Turnbull).

Over his 11 Budgets, Mr Brown could have brought in many more, and more radical, measures to tackle climate change than he has. He has in fact done very little. Most of his green taxes have pretended to change behaviour, but in reality merely raise revenue; many simple but effective measures have never been considered.

To take just one example: in his recent budget, Mr Brown said he would apply to the EU for VAT on energy-saving materials to be reduced from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent. Cue applause. But the Association for the Conservation of Energy has been calling for this since at least 1989.