British Environment Minister Turns to You Tube To Pimp Carbon Cuts

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

It’s a heartening move. It’s long overdue. And it’s not enough.

The British government today revealed its draft climate bill, with 60% cuts in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050–making Britain the first of the heavy hitters to produce a significant plan for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Britain’s plan will measure emissions against their 1990 levels–like the essentially defunct Kyoto Protocol–while exceeding Kyoto by seeking an average 5.2% cut among developed-world nations by 2012.


The plan will involve setting five-year targets for emissions reduction, called ‘carbon budgets’. These targets should see Britain cut its carbon emissions by between 26% and 32% by 2020–exceeding the 20% cuts agreed by many European nations at a summit last week. The United States has no federally mandated emissions targets, although some individual states have set goals.

Again from

It is not clear exactly how the UK targets will be met, although the government has pledged to invest in energy efficiency, home power-generation schemes, renewable-energy technologies, and increased carbon trading. Miliband stressed that individuals will be able to make a difference: “In the end, this isn’t something that governments and businesses can do alone,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that new legislation is not as stringent as many political leaders are seeking:

[California] Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has overseen the adoption of similar legislation in California, joined Blair for the launch by satellite link via the ITN network. He said technology and carbon tradeoff partnerships across the globe would allow gains that would not be achievable individually. “This is a huge, huge announcement,” Schwarzenegger said of the proposed British legislation.

Yet California’s regulation is far more ambitious than the British proposal, calling for an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050. Again from the LA Times:

Many environmental groups also have urged annual targets. Friends of the Earth welcomed the proposed law but called for it to be even stronger, with targeted emission cuts of 3% every year, annual progress reports and taxes on international aviation and shipping emissions. “The government’s current target–a cut in emissions of 60% by 2050–is no longer considered to be a sufficient contribution by the U.K. or other developed countries,” the organization said in a statement.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend