Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle... and some environment policies

With the World’s eyes trained on Copenhagen the going has been tough for the leaders struggling to broker a worthwhile deal. However some have found the experience a bit more rewarding having had their efforts praised by none other than the Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger (aka Conan the Barbarian, The Terminator, Mr Freeze).

One such individual is our own environment minister Jane Davidson, whose been busy chairing meetings and having talks about the positive impact that regional and sub national governments can have in lowering carbon emissions.

So what has the Welsh Assembly Government actually pledged to do? Well it has made a commitment to reduce carbon emissions annually by 3% from 2011 onwards (in devolved areas of course). It has put aside £300 million to try and achieve this goal, whilst also putting nearly £250,000 in a pot to help areas of Uganda deal with climate change. So is this enough?

Jane Davidson clearly thinks so saying "It is clear from the commitments that regional governments across the world have already made that we are setting the pace on this agenda and hopefully our example will lead to a deal by the end of the week."

And so it would seem does Arnie, telling WAG officials to “Keep up the good work in your efforts to fight climate change”.

But are the WAG really ‘‘setting the pace?’’ Pressure groups are sceptical many of whom (like Oxfam Cymru) are calling for Carwyn Jones and his new cabinet to treble their commitment and pledge to cut emissions by 9%. Setting the pace? Maybe not then.

If regional governments like the WAG, whose efforts are being praised, aren’t even cutting the mustard, then what hope is there for a worthwhile global deal?

And doesn’t the mathematics of it all mean that in reality their efforts are a bit pointless if the Worlds big polluters (USA, China, India e.t.c) don’t vote for drastic change?

We wait with baited breath for the outcome of the Copenhagen talks on Friday, I wonder if the rest of the World will follow Wales’ (strong or weak - you decide) lead?

Hasta la vista, baby (sorry could not help myself!).

Dewi Un


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