Saturday, June 02, 2007

UK Minister Evasion on Climate Change Question

I have been conducting a long correspondence with Government, urging them to make
a pledge in climate change negotiations that the UK is prepared to implement
Contraction and Convergence if a set number
of other governments are prepared to
do likewise. The correspondence is up here .
I have been pressing Ian Pearson  to make his position clear on how the UK would react to
a pledge proposed
from another party (at the moment I am putting the idea to a Dutch
green MEP).

Saturday, 02 June 2007

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)
I am sorry to have to tell you that I am not satisfied with the reply given by Peter Stupple of the Defra Customer Contact unit on 25th May to my letter of 14 April, when he simply refers me to the letter of Ms McLeay of the Global Atmosphere Division of 22nd June 2006. In the first place, Katrina McLeay invites further discussion, while your response given through Mr. Stupple implies that no further discussion is possible. In the second place, it was made clear in conversation with the Global Atmosphere Division that the correspondence had gone as far as it could at the level of government officers, and that their freedom of thought was constrained by a political decision. Therefore, the way our elected Government handles climate change negotiations has become a matter of political debate, and is no longer a mater for the civil service.

Since it is clear that the Government is not minded to initiate a pledge to implement Contraction and Convergence which will be implemented when a sufficient number of other nations have made the same pledge, I put the question,
At what stage would HMG be prepared to join a C&C pledge process if it were to be initiated by some other negotiating party? 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 C&C initiative 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 the Government has decided that it will only go with “global acceptability”, by which we infer perfect 100% international agreement, it follows 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?

In a democracy elected representatives are accountable to the people for their decisions, and in simply ignoring it, you are is, in my opinion, displaying a certain disrespect for the democratic process. I will therefore ask my MP, John Penrose, by copy of this letter, to press you in Parliament to answer the two questions contained in this letter, and in view of the number of times that the questions have been avoided, I will now place this correspondence in the public domain.

Yours sincerely

Richard Lawson

c.c. John Penrose MP

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's not a minister avoiding the question, I very much doubt the minister takes the time to get involved in correspondence. It's more likely a civil servant who can't see the value in wasting public resources to try and reply to your unanswerable question. It isn't furthering the debate or questioning constructively to repeatedly demand an answer to what, in effect, boils down to: 'what will the government's policy be in a hypothetical, vague situation?' One would need to know the precise terms of the suggested policy to make a decision about whether to engage in it or not. International negotiations just don't work in the simplistic way this line of questioning suggests. More's the pity, I'm sure.