I had hoped to be writing a blog post today in anticipation of the Prime Minister's Energy speech. I had hoped to be wondering whether he would recommit the Government to calling for a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels) from the EU by 2020.
It appears that either this speech will now not happen or it was a speech that never was. I understand that he will be restricting himself to just a few introductory remarks.
See here and here.
There are lots of reasons why the Prime Minister may have chosen not to mark the Clean Energy Ministerial meeting with his first keynote speech on the environment. I am not going to comment on the lack of a speech on a particular day.
But I do think that it is important for the Prime Minister to find a date soon where he can outline his ambitions for tackling climate change and protecting the environment.
This is an example of where words matter. The Leader of the day can outline his or her government's commitments and what they hope to achieve. This helps galvanise the rest of government. It is therefore obviously disappointing that Mr Cameron has, to date, failed to outline this vision since his election in 2010.
Clement Atlee’s Government gave us National Parks. Mrs Thatcher left us the Wildlife and Countryside Act, helped tackle the hole in the Ozone and drew the world's attention to global warming. Mr Blair helped give better protection to wildlife (through the CROW and Marine Acts) and established legally binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the groundbreaking Climate Change Act.
The Coalition is, of course, having, shall I say, "a challenging month". There is understandable focus on the firefight at the front door. But before long he will need to turn his attention to the longer-term ecological and climate crises that we face. The challenge of any great Leader is to rise above the noise of the day and focus on the longer term challenges. This is part of creating a legacy which subsequent generations can be proud.
I admire Mrs Spelman's ambitions to leave the natural environment in a better state for the next to inherit and I remain convinced that Mr Cameron wants this to be the "greenest government ever". But the silence is becoming deafening. It is vital that Mr Cameron finds a date soon to confirm his commitment to this agenda and outline concrete proposals about how this will be achieved.
Do you have an opportunity when Mr Cameron can make his first Prime Ministerial speech on the environment?
I am sure that he would love to receive an invitation.
It was Mrs Thatcher and Ronald Reagan that created the International Panel on Climate Change and a lot of the work that went towards Rio 1992 was on her "watch"; I disagree profoundly with much of what she did from the Big Bang of the City forward but her role in establishing the scientific concensus on AGW is clear and historic.
Unfortunately Cameron remains a minnow in hoc to his sceptic right and sceptic Chancellor also ?
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