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May 16th, 2011

Cameron to back climate targets

By Cian O'Donovan

David Cameron will take the advice of Chris Huhne and the Committee on Climate Change

Photograph by 38 Degrees

What a week in the world of UK carbon targets. With a crucial decision on climate change looming, thousands of us contacted our MPs. We asked them to urge David Cameron to listen to his expert scientific advice and keep his green promises. Good news, that message has got though.

On Tuesday, climate minister Chris Huhne announced that the government will accept the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change. It’s not perfect, the government have given themselves a little bit of wiggle room in the form of a 2014 review, but it still represents a victory for people power.

So what was all the fuss about? Here’s a quick recap on the events to date:

  • The 2008 Climate Change Act was a world leading piece of legislation committing the UK to serious action on climate change
  • David Cameron was vocal in his support of the then Climate Change Bill as it made its way through parliament. He even sleighed through the arctic to highlight his concern for the effects of climate change
  • Then days after coming to power last May, the prime minister promised he’d lead the “Greenest Government Ever”
  • Earlier this year, the Committee on Climate Change, a body set up to help implement provisions of the Climate Change Act, issued its latest set of recommendations in their Fourth Carbon Budget. This included key emissions targets for the period 2023 to 2027
  • Treasury insiders (and Vince Cable) have in the past weeks furiously lobbied David Cameron to reject these targets
  • The prime minister makes the big decision this week

38 Degrees members have asked David Cameron to keep his green promises and accept the recommendations. If, as now predicted, the government backs the Committee on Climate Change, it represents an important  victory for people power. Once again 38 Degrees members have had our voices heard.

And we weren’t alone in making this call. A chorus of support for the CCC rose over the past week. Greenpeace brought their Huskies to parliament on Friday (click for cute dog pics) and some of the UK’s biggest NGOs, from the RSPB to Friends of the Earth to Christian Aid, have written to the prime minister telling him he needs to get to work if he’s to keep all those green promises.

While David Cameron has promised the “Greenest Government ever”, we have seen the priorities of many of his cabinet colleagues lie elsewhere. A victory here, but as 38 Degrees members, we know the need for our close inspection of environment decisions remains.

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