London, 4 October – The Global Warming Policy Foundation has welcomed the promise by Chancellor George Osborne that the government will no longer be bound by unilateral targets that cut CO2 emissions in Britain faster and deeper than other countries in Europe.
Of course it is not just the rest of Europe that matters, but the rest of the world, and notably China, the US and India. Mr Osborne is right to highlight the growing risk that Britain’s unilateral green policies “are not going to save the planet [but are] putting our country out of business.”
Many journalists and green campaigners mistakenly believe that the UK’s post-2020 carbon targets are legally binding under the UK’s Climate Change Act. In reality, however, the fourth carbon budget has made these targets (35% carbon cuts by 2022 and a 50% reduction by 2025) conditional on international agreements and developments. Moreover, not even the 2050 carbon target is set in stone.
“According to the Climate Change Act, the government may amend the Act’s emissions target if it appears that there have been significant developments in European law or policy that make it appropriate to do so. Given the EU’s manifest reluctance to follow Britain’s lead, the time has come to suspend all unilateral climate targets and amend them along EU lines,” Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF director said.