Prescott presses climate case

by Bryan Walker on August 11, 2009

Prescott Tony Blair is not the only former UK Labour Party leader to seek to influence the direction of the climate change talks.  John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister, is deeply involved in trying to secure a successor to Kyoto.  A Guardian article reports on his efforts and his views, both of which I found heartening.

He met leaders of Barack Obama’s climate change team a fortnight ago, will visit China on 8 September and will stage an international conference from 28 September on the principles of a deal for Copenhagen.  The conference, organised by the Council of Europe, will have 65 states present.  And that’s not all.  He’s also leading a Gore-style campaign in schools in October, showing the film The Age of Stupid. 

In his view a deal at Copenhagen will require social justice built around equalising emissions per head in each country. This means far greater sacrifices by the rich nations, especially the US. He warns:

“Rich countries are showing great reluctance to face up to the reality of what rationing carbon means for levels of growth and prosperity in their countries. It is going to be a fundamental change.”

He notes the fierce resistance being put up by the steel and coal industry in the US, pouring cash into a lobbying campaign to weaken the resolve of Democrat senators.

“What is vital is that America and China come to an agreement, and at the heart of that will be an arrangement on the coal industry…The west is going to come up with big money on how to finance alternative energy in the developing countries, including clean coal. We have got to crack clean coal technology. China and India are going to want to know how many billions the rich countries are going to put aside to help them make their carbon contributions. That will be one of the big tests at Copenhagen. The fact is that the west has poisoned the world and left continents like Africa in poverty. The west will have up to stump up the cash for clean technology.” 

Copenhagen, he argues, will represent a major infringement on free market economies, even though it will use market mechanisms such as cap and trade to set a price for carbon through rationing.

“What we are beginning to witness is a whole new set of rules for economics, based on rationing resources.”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

R2D2 August 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Scary stuff alright. Rationing of carbon? Social justice built around equalising emissions per head in each country. “The fact is that the west has poisoned the world and left continents like Africa in poverty. The west will have up to stump up the cash for clean technology”

All pretty extreme. Is the position you support Bryan?

Bryan Walker August 11, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Absolutely R2D2, and I don’t see it as in any way extreme.

R2D2 August 11, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Well when I point out that the end game of the UNFCCC is global socialism (read: social justice between nations) I get called a tin foil hat wearer, and here you are supporting that position. “The west will have to stump up the cash”, “equal emissions per head in each country”. Climate change seems to be the vehicle, ‘social justice’ the destination.

http://dynamic.nzherald.co.nz/poll/pub/polls/index.cfm?action=results&pollid=F153B48D-D1B8-B2BE-4F951F7B1CD83B73

Bryan Walker August 12, 2009 at 7:56 am

R2D2, social justice is inextricably entwined with human caused climate change. Intergenerational justice for one – we are imperiling our descendants. Justice for the poorer societies for another – they are already suffering the effects and will continue to be hardest hit as those effects develop. You can call it socialism if you like. I would have thought a decent sense of humanity would be an adequate description. I don’t mind being called a socialist provided it is of a wishy-washy liberal democratic variety, but I assure you my fears of climate change are entirely independent of my somewhat vague political orientation. You are on the wrong scent.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: