Speaking in Oslo today, David Cameron has outlined six principles to guide his commitment to tackle global warming:
INTERNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP: David Cameron challenged Tony Blair to support a new, binding international agreement to succeed the current Kyoto targets.
TARGETS AND TECHNOLOGY: Without binding targets there will be no commitment to adopt the new green technologies.
GREEN GROWTH: Our standard of living does not have to suffer from environmental action. In fact it will suffer if we don’t take the environment seriously.
FAITH IN THE POWER OF MARKETS: Conservatives must have faith in price signals and must develop a domestic emissions trading scheme that works.
BIPARTISANSHIP: Action against global warming requires long-term stability in policy and that requires cross-party consensus. The Tories have already reached cross-party consensus with the LibDems and nationalist parties on binding year on year reductions in carbon emissions.
SHARED RESPONSIBILITY TO ACT: Government – national and local – business, the voluntary sector, families and individuals all must play their part. [Don’t overfill your kettle etc].
Whenever David Cameron has raised environmental issues at PMQs he has been taunted by Tony Blair over his failure to support the climate change levy. In Oslo today the Tory leader has responded by promising to replace the CCL with a new Carbon Levy. Unlike the CCL, which taxes all energy use in the same blunt way, the Carbon Levy will distinguish between high and low carbon energy uses. Coal generation will, for example, be penalised under the new levy whilst renewable energies and nuclear power will be favoured.
Editor’s comment: "The big unanswered question raised by David Cameron’s speech is ‘why a Kyoto MkII treaty will work when Kyoto MkI has clearly failed?’ Tony Blair has some understanding of the failure of the Kyoto approach. The EU-15 have had their binding targets but they are failing to adopt new green technologies on a scale sufficient to meet those targets. They’ve missed their targets even though their economies have been sluggish – that oil prices have been high – and despite exporting much industrial capacity to developing nations. David Cameron appears to be recycling a framework that has already been tried by the developed world and has largely failed."