One of the big casualties of the recession has been action against climate change.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation – formed by Nigel Lawson – highlights an article by Lawrence Solomon of the Financial Post which lists the increasing number of political retreats from action on climate change:
- France: "France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, who had vowed to “save the human race” from climate change by introducing a carbon tax by the time of the G8 and G20, was a changed man by the time the meetings occurred. He cancelled his carbon tax in March, two days after a crushing defeat in regional elections that saw his Gaullist party lose just about every region of France. He got the message: Two-thirds of the French public opposed carbon taxes."
- Australia: "Kevin Rudd, Australia’s gung-ho global-warming prime minister, lost his job the day before he was set to fly to the G20 meetings; just months earlier Australia’s conservative opposition leader, also gung-go on global warming, lost his job in an anti-global-warming backbencher revolt."
- Spain: "Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, his popularity and that of global warming in tatters, decided to gut his country’s renewables industry by unilaterally rescinding the government guarantees enshrined in legislation, knowing the rescinding would put most of his country’s 600 photovoltaic manufacturers out of business."
- Italy: "Silvio Berlusconi similarly scrapped government guarantees for its solar and wind companies prior to the G8 and G20, putting them into default, too."
"Public opinion surveys now predict that this November’s elections will
see sweeping change in the United States, with legislators who have
signed on to the global-warming hypothesis being replaced by those who
don’t buy it."
- UK: " The two government departments responsible for climate-change policies — previously immune to cuts — must now contract by an extraordinary 25%. Other U.K. departments are also ditching climate-change programs — the casualties include manufacturers of electric cars [and] the Low Carbon Buildings Program."
It's not just the sceptical GWPF that is of this view. Fleet Street's greenest are agreed. The Telegraph's Geoffrey Lean blogged this after George Osborne's Budget:
"Greenery took up all of 52 words in the Chancellor’s 57 page budget speech."
Mr Lean may get a £2.5bn tax on the airline industry in the autumn (Sunday Times (£)) but this is driven primarily by the need to raise revenue rather than motivated by green politics. Lean himself noted that movement on the environment was "backwards" at last week's G20 gathering.
Meanwhile, China continues its large-scale opening of new coal mines.