Michael Howard says: The Tories and the US have done better than Blair on climate change

A while ago I commented on the UK govt record on climate change (by which I meant the current labour govt), and concluded the rhetoric has been good but the action disappointing.

Now Michael Howard (Tory lame-duck leader of the opposition) has written an article for the Grauniad And what if the sceptics are wrong? The Tories and the US have done better than Blair on climate change , which starts: Climate change is one of mankind's greatest challenges. In the past 30 years world temperatures have increased by almost 0.5C. We cannot predict with certainty what will happen now, but the risk of abrupt climate change certainly exists. Human activity is increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to levels unprecedented in human history. If we do nothing, or next to nothing, those levels will continue to rise, progressively increasing the risk of runaway global warming. I'm a bit dubious about the abrupt/runaway stuff, but again: its good rhetoric.

Howard gets a bit carried away praising local US initiatives, but this is mostly because he doesn't want to criticise the US and wants to say The American people have shown that not being a signatory [to Kyoto] need not stop one from making progress on climate change. Sadly, Tony Blair has proven the corollary: being a signatory does not guarantee progress.

MH (correctly) points out that the UKs major CO2 cuts came from the dash-for-gas (replacement of a lot of coal powered plants by gas) under the Tories. But... he is wrong to imply that this was done for the purpose. AFAIK it was done because the Tories didn't like the power of the coal miners and were keen to see it reduced.

There is more good rhetoric in the article, and I suppose its good to see all the major political parties in the UK committed, in theory, to reducing CO2. But... despite all the cheerful political knockabout, there isn't much in the way of concrete plans for reducing our emissions in the article. So I fear that my verdict on him is no better than on Blair.

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