Azara Blog: The UK will probably miss 2010 CO2 target

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Date published: 2005/11/20

The BBC says:

The UK is unlikely to meet its 2010 target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20%, the government's chief scientific advisor has admitted.

Sir David King told the BBC the target was perhaps a "bit optimistic" but said the government had not given up and long-term plans were in place.

The "green light" should be given for more nuclear reactors, he added.

Environmental groups accused Prime Minister Tony Blair of backtracking on the issue of setting targets.

The Blair government seems to love targets. Usually the government can rely on the affected parties (e.g. schools, hospitals, etc.) to fiddle the statistics and/or skew performance in order that the targets are met. (So, for example, allegedly school students are doing better and better, only they seem to know less and less by the time they get to university.) With emissions the figures are much harder to fiddle. And, unlike with their other targets, government has also done little to offer financial rewards (either directly or indirectly) to the population for meeting the targets. If you are going to make targets like this, you should make them for 2050, when you are long dead, so cannot be held accountable.

The Blair government certainly looks likely to push for more nuclear power. Most of the so-called environmentalists will not like this at all, but in some sense, by forever claiming that global warming is by far and away the number one problem on the planet, they themselves have encouraged the political climate where nuclear power again becomes accepted. Of course with nuclear power the current generation is passing huge problems (of storage of nuclear waste) onto future generations, and this is allegedly "unsustainable" behaviour (in the dreadful jargon of the day). Not unlike greenhouse gas emissions, as it happens. But a recent report has indicated that with emissions targets and without nuclear power, the UK will face a serious electricity supply shortfall in future.

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