Strong environment reporting from the UK.(From the editor) While there have for years been examples of outstanding environmental reporting, including at timesMessage 1 of 2 , Jun 22, 2010View Source
Strong environment reporting from the UK.(From the editor)
While there have for years been examples of outstanding environmental reporting, including at times on matters related to sustainable transport as we define it here, this continues to be an area in which a great deal of progress is yet to be made. To move to sustainable transport and sustainable cities, we need to create a strong citizen consensus, a new mindset, which is a tough call since the issues and necessary remedial approaches tend to be quite complex and unfamiliar to many of us who are so accustomed to what we see out on the street every day and which effectively tends to freeze our minds.
This good piece from yesterday's Daily Telegraph strikes this reader as a clear and useful contribution. But to appreciate what at uphill battle this is, in Britain at least, have a look at the reader comments at http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geoffreylean/100044535/the-greenest-thing-about-the-budget-was-tied-around-the-chancellors-neck/#disqus_thread, And not only in Britain.
It is clear that there is a great deal to be done to get out our message that it is entirely possible to have a better environment and conditions of life without spending more taxpayer money. We can perfectly well do the job working within the envelope of the available funding. But it does take brains and ability to organize and convince. Dear Readers . . .
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The greenest thing about the budget was knotted around the Chancellor's neck
- By Geoffrey Lean , The Telegraph, UK. June 22nd, 2010.
(Geoffrey Lean is Britain's longest-serving environmental correspondent, having pioneered reporting on the subject almost 40 years ago.)
- Source: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geoffreylean/100044535/the-greenest-thing-about-the-budget-was-tied-around-the-chancellors-neck/
Well, at least his tie was green. But George Osborne’s neckwear was much the most verdant part of the first budget from Britain’s ‘greenest ever Government’, as the Prime Minister calls it, delivered by a man who, only a few months ago, was promising to make the Treasury ‘a green ally, not a foe’. There was no sign of the ‘major shift’ towards green taxation both men were promising as they made their party electable again by embracing the environment. Indeed greenery took up all of 52 words in the Chancellor’s 57 page budget speech.
Sure, there were a few, largely unnoticed, crumbs. The standard rate of the landfill tax – one of Britain’s few green ones – is to increase by £8 a tonne annually for at least three years, while the aggregate levy is to go up by a full 10p a tonne this year. But as far as immediate measures go, that’s about it. And some of the cuts could do great harm. Research for the Campaign for Sustainable Transport, for example, found that the 25 per cent cuts expected from transport could cause the decimation of bus services, the withdrawal of many local train services outside London and 33 per cent fare rises for those that remain.
And yet the Budget Red Book itself, in a short green section says that ‘climate change is one of the most serious threats the world faces’ and asserts ‘the Government is committed to playing its part in moving to a low carbon economy.’ There’s a few weasel words in that commitment, to be sure, but even ignoring them begs the question: ‘Where’s the beef?’
Mr Osborne effectively replies: ‘Wait and see’. His promised green measures are postponed or to be ‘assessed’ or put out to ‘consultation’ – among them the pledged Green Investment Bank, ‘green financial products’, reform of the Climate Change Levy to produce a floor price for carbon, and unspecified energy market reforms. This is enough for the green investment manager, Climate Change Capital, which calls them ‘an ambitious set of proposals for stimulating investment in the low carbon economy’. But others are much less enthusiastic.
Green MP Caroline Lucas, says, predictably enough: ‘I just think this Budget nails the lie to any idea that if you vote blue you get green. There was hardly a green shred anywhere.’ The Environment Industries Commission, which had been ‘optimistic that the Government would today lay the foundation for low carbon and sustainable economic growth’ was left ‘ruing a missed opportunity.’
Will Osborne’s future Budgets be more environmentally friendly? Let’s hope so. But first the Chancellor will have to move the greenery from around his neck into that red Budget Box.
Honk!Message 2 of 2 , Jun 24, 2010View Source