Azara Blog: Britain should allegedly cut emissions by 90% by 2030

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Date published: 2008/05/07

Ann Pettifor says on the BBC (way down an opinion piece about inaction on climate change that says amazingly little given the number of words):

Britain's only Christian campaign dedicated exclusively to climate change, Operation Noah, pressures government to take much more radical action - to cut emissions by 90% by 2030, not 2050.

We may not have got it right, but we are trying to pressure government to act urgently, and to mobilise society in the way that Jubilee 2000 mobilised millions of people to cancel third world debt.

"We may not have got it right" is a bit of an understatement. And to start with, she fails to mention that current government policy is to cut emissions by 60% by 2050, not 90%, although there is some move to change that to 80%. But why would you expect a Christian to be honest and above board? The game here seems to be to take an extreme number and make it more extreme, just so you can get some attention. And the BBC obliges her. And on the substantive point, does she have any evidence that we should be cutting emissions by 90% by 2030, and does she have any way of doing that without massively undermining the standard of living of British citizens? (Well, perhaps she wants the Britain to be much poorer, and if so, she should so, loud and clear.)

(There is also the problem that emissions are not currently properly accounted for. So currently the UK can export emissions to other countries, like China, by exporting industrial production there, and then pretend that emissions have been cut, when in fact all that has happened is that they have been transferred, or possibly even been made worse given that UK factories might be more energy efficient than, say, Chinese ones.)

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