Tony Blair is not the only former UK Labour Party leader to seek to influence the direction of the climate change talks.Â John Prescott, former Deputy Prime Minister, is deeply involved in trying to secure a successor to Kyoto.Â A Guardian article reports on his efforts and his views, both of which I found heartening.
He met leaders of Barack Obamaâ€™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.Â The conference, organised by the Council of Europe, will have 65 states present.Â And thatâ€™s not all.Â Heâ€™s also leading a Gore-style campaign in schools in October, showing the film The Age of Stupid.Â
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 industryâ€¦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.”Â
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.”