On 24 October the New Forest District Council voted by 47 to 5 votes to ask the government to abandon their unilateral targets on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The Council agreed that the UK should not cut emissions any faster than other major industrial nations.
Cllr Derek Tipp, who proposed the motion argued that since the UK only produces 2% of the world’s emissions of man-made CO2, any cuts made in the UK will by themselves have a negligible impact on atmospheric levels. He also asked members to consider the massive increase in emissions being made in China where they are building the equivalent of one new coal-fired power station a week, and have plans to build 100 new airports. It was also reported that China emits more CO2 per person than both France and Spain, and if it continues to grow at the same rate it will emit more CO2 per person than the UK by next year, and more than the USA by 2017.
I think this is the first debate of this kind by a local authority. When Chancellor, George Osborne stated recently that he believed we should cut our CO2 emissions no faster than our European neighbours, it seemed that there might be a re-think of the current stance of the government on this issue.
The wording of the motion was as follows:
“It is widely known that energy bills have been rising at rates well above inflation in the past few years and that this is already adversely affecting businesses and causing financial hardship to many people throughout the country on low incomes, including residents of this District.
"In light of this I propose that the Council should write to the government, urging it not to make commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions further or faster than other major industrial nations without a world-wide binding commitment by all those other industrial nations, as such a unilateral commitment would add further increases to UK energy prices causing increasing hardship.”