UK carries its climate credentials to Durban

The senior UK minister attending the Durban talks , Chris Huhne, chose a quiet day for climate change news to deliver a very long speech on the subject.

Is the old country still a player on this particular international platform? The answer is an emphatic yes, punching far beyond its weight.

The UK Climate Change Act is probably the toughest chunk of climate legislation in a major developed country, imposing 80% emissions reductions by 2050. And the UK has so far stuck to its pledge to increase foreign aid to 0.7% of national income by 2013.

Today’s speech suggests that Huhne is not going to be shy to throw his weight around in Durban. Just before he departs, plans for the UK’s 4th carbon budget covering the period 2023-2027 will be announced, imposing an impressive 50% reduction on 1990 emissions.

Once in Durban, Huhne will pull another rabbit out of the hat. A “package for Africa will deliver very significant UK funding” for rural energy, farmers and transport.

This may be a desperate sweetener for what the Secretary of State actually said in the speech:

It would be premature to pledge finance to the Green Fund in Durban, as the detailed rules will not have been agreed

Huhne is all in favour of a second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol but only if all the other players make a “commitment to commit” to a new agreement “by 2015 at the latest.”

An early warning of the phraseology with no meaning that we will be tormented with in Durban.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK