Energy Secretary Chris Huhne told Parliament that Britain would reduce the emissions by about 50 percent from benchmark emission levels in 1990, part of its legally mandated commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
This news is huge. Note first the benchmark: 1990 emission levels. The U.S.’s wasted effort at a needed emissions policy change was going to use 2005 as a benchmark – which was woefully inadequate. Of course, the policy never got changed so our trial benchmark is irrelevant.
What we need to know – and we obviously cannot for the time being – is whether this policy proposal will be watered down and if so by how much. No other European country has yet proposed such an aggressive cut in emissions. So while the U.K. is first and that’s a good thing because it moves the debate forward, the sorry state of politics in general likely means that the target won’t stand when put into place. But as long their efforts move actual policy forward, that’s a good thing. I just hope it’s enough and in time.