Climate change

Bill Clinton said in London yesterday (in a speech at the Smith Institute) that while terrorism could kill large numbers of people, it could never wipe out a civilisation, but that global warming could. 

It is a long way from the apocalypse to low energy lightbulbs, radiator thermostats, and Part L of the Building Regulations (which deals with conserving fuel and power). But the link needs to be made.

The recent rise in emissions promoted by the rise in oil and gas prices (and the shift of electricity generators to coal) shows the importance of a few big decisions. 

But millions of small decisions are also important.  The challenge for government is to help individuals bridge the gap between intuition and action; the experiment of offering £50 or £100 council tax discounts for energy efficiency measures currently being piloted in 16 local authorities is one example. 

The commitment to put a Home Energy Efficiency report in every Home Information Pack is another. 

And the higher standards of energy efficiency in new homes like the Northstowe development of 10,000 houses in Cambridge is a further case study. 

But we need to find other ways to motivate action. 

I will be discussing these and other ideas in a speech to the Green Alliance in May.

posted on 29 March 2006 15:27 by David Miliband
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# 30 March 2006 08:05 David Tebbutt wrote:
re: Climate change

While utterly desirable that we should minimise our own impact on global warming, any efforts will be utterly overwhelmed by countries like China, India and the USA.

Along with domestic measures, we need to raise our heads and seriously consider what we can do to bring about change in these other countries.

And, if we can't figure that out, then our efforts will be largely in vain.


# 30 March 2006 14:13 Helen G wrote:
re: Climate change

Defra seem to have a very good model for cataylsing changes in patterns of behaviour:

1) Enable (e.g.remove barriers, Provide facilities etc)
2) Engage (e.g.Community Action, co-design/co-production
3) Exemplify (e.g.Leading by example, Greening Government)
4) Encourage (through tax or rewards, league tables, recognition etc)

Whether you're operating on an individual, community group, national or global level, these four e's, when enacted together can provide the necessary impetus to change...

And to David Tebbutt's last point. It's a complex issue, this country-wide action and in-action on curbing CO2 emissions.....But when my children are older, I don't particularly relish the thought of saying - in response to their question about "Why didn't you do anything?" -

"Well dear, the USA didn't do anything so neither did I"

I'm just not sure it would go down that well.


# 31 March 2006 23:16 jason brown wrote:
re: Climate change

Congratulations to the Minister for his blog initiative and his desire to keep in contact with the public.

There are scientific arguments for and against the impacts of climate change.

By the time these arguments are settled, it may be way too late for many of the world's island based civilisations.

As a resident of one of those islands, it amazes me that sea level rise debate seems stuck on avoiding the possibility of having to say sorry rather than the much advised alternative of staying safe.

One way forward might be to supplement the War on Terror with a Crusade against Corruption.

Treat the disease, not just the symptoms.