Monday, April 09, 2007

British Government avoids Climate Change

I have been conducting a long correspondence with the British Government. trying to get them, in parallel with conventional negotiations, to pledge to adopt C&C if a set number of other governments also sign up to the same pledge.

Two things have emerged from the correspondence.

One is that Blair's Government has no plan of its own. They are just waiting, Micawber-like, for something to turn up.

Second, they are insisting on 100% agreement from all parties - they will not just go with a majority. This is a certain recipe for failure, or at least, for no meaningful agreement for several decades.

The correspondence is detailed here: . It is long, but fairly repetitive. You will see that I developed a good rapport with the civil servants, and in the end, they indicated that it was a political decision - that is, a decision from New Labour ministers.

Since it was clear that the Government will not initiate a pledge on C&C, I have turned it round and asked when they would join in if someone else initiated it. Pearson , the minister, has avoided answering once, so I have put it again, and tried to guess his response.


Ian Pearson MP

Minister of State (Climate Change and the Environment)

3/B8 Ashdown House
123 Victoria St
London SW1E 6DE

Simultaneous Policy for Contraction and Convergence (SP/C&C)

Given the urgency of the situation with regard to climate change, given that the UK has no preferred framework for solving climate change, and given the complexity and political difficulty of achieving 100% multilateral agreement on a solution, I have been urging that in parallel with conventional discussions, you should use simultaneous policy by indicating the UK’s willingness to sign up to C&C, when a reasonable number of parties (or even, if you absolutely insist, when all parties) have indicated a similar willingness.

Since it was made clear in the previous correspondence that the UK would not be in the business of initiating simultaneous policy, I then asked, and still ask, At what stage would HMG be prepared to join a SP/C&C process if it were to be initiated by some other country? Would it lay down its pledge with the first, second, third, or last quarter of negotiating parties?

Although hypothetical, this is a valid question, since it is quite possible that other negotiators may put such a pledge on Contraction and Convergence forward, and the UK will then have to choose its response.

Since you have avoided this question, I will make a guess in order to try to speed up an outcome. My guess is that as the Government has decided that it will only go with “global acceptability”, by which we infer perfect 100% international agreement, it must follow that the present Government of the UK would be among the very last countries to sign up to a simultaneous policy initiative centered around C&C if it were to be presented.

Is this inference correct?

Yours sincerely

Richard Lawson

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