couple of weeks ago, the Mayor of Austin announced a new initiative
to deal with climate change. It was pretty aggressive. The real estate folks were unhappy with it. Some of the Enviros were unhappy with it, because it didn't go far enough.
Yesterday another Mayor announced his plans
. This time it is that sleepy little town called London
Cleaning up the Big Smoke:
Livingstone plans to cut carbon emissions by 60%
David Adam and Hugh Muir
Tuesday February 27, 2007
A detailed plan to slash London's carbon emissions by 60% within 20 years and place the city at the forefront of the battle against climate change will be announced today by Ken Livingstone.
The mayor will appeal to Londoners to stop using energy wastefully and will urge businesses to embrace green technology to heat and light offices and workplaces.
Mr Livingstone wants a quarter of London's electricity supply to be shifted from the national grid to local combined heat-and-power systems by 2025. The city will offer "green gurus" to help families make their lifestyles more environmentally friendly, and will subsidise supplies of cavity wall and loft insulation.
The move is the most far-reaching attempted by a big city in the UK, but dozens of others are also planning action to cut emissions. Nearly 200 local authorities have a signed a pledge to take action,
known as the Nottingham Declaration
, and other cities, such as Birmingham, have set targets to reduce greenhouse gases.
Officials say the "vast majority" of the measures announced today will save money, mainly in reduced fuel and energy bills. They estimate that half the required carbon savings can be made through simple changes in behaviour.
In his foreword to the published details of the plan, Mr Livingstone says: "All of us have a responsibility, actions taken at an individual level can have consequences that are unaccceptable for society as a whole. Buying a gas-guzzling 4x4 vehicle is an 'individual choice' but it creates carbon emisssions that contribute to global warming and harm everyone.
It should be no more socially acceptable than to claim the right to dump rubbish in the street." (clip)
The 60% target also relies heavily on ministers introducing regulations that place a nationwide price on the carbon pollution
caused by fossil fuel use. Mr Livingstone has drawn up plans for such a scheme in London, which would charge the drivers
of the most polluting cars £25
to enter the congestion zone. Similar moves across other sectors must be an "absolute priority" for ministers, the mayor's office said. more
Yesterday, while eating lunch before my presentation before a group of energy geeks, I mentioned to a couple of colleagues that in a carbon constrained world, both in supply and in emissions, we may soon be approaching a time when we might need a permit to drive to Houston and back. And what if someone thought we should attend the teleconference instead?
Or what if we had already used up our carbon travel allotment?
These are the dark shadows that can befall us all if we are not careful about how we respond to the need to restore the balance on earth.
Will we find ourselves in a regulated police state carbon economy?
We must consider our liberties in the climate struggle, perhaps even more so than we do in the struggle against those who resist our oppression.
If we do not,
We will find our future full of permissions, permits, and fees,
and the long shadow of totalitarianism
will cover the land.
Labels: political philosophy