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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

UK Low Carbon Transition plan says make carbon budget for Trident

Dear Mr Lacy,

Thank you for your last correspondence and ongoing assistance in helping me understand the government's plans for abiding by the intent of the Durban Platform deadline date of the 28th February for submission of proposals to raise the level of ambition for international co-operation on climate change.

I have read the document that you referenced:

Unfortunately, this does not give any specifics about what this government or any other will do to raise the level of co-operation. It is merely a skeleton document with no flesh. It acknowledges the most optimistic scenarios will result in catastrophic global heating and that the level of ambition needs to be raised such that we can achieve a 50% reduction on 1990 levels by 2050.

It is worth pointing out that today's global emissions are already twice those of 1990. We therefore need to reduce global CO2 emissions to a quarter of today's.

I am delighted you have confirmed “the government will submit as part of the EU its views on increasing the level of international mitigation ambition by the 28 February.”

I, and many others, would simply like to know what these are. On the basis that nothing has yet been published, there has been no media debate on the issue and no government announcements, we are entitled to be sceptical that the issue is being treated with the seriousness it merits. Can you confirm the government will announce before hand its proposals and give a date for these?

I would also like to thank you for referring me to the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan

Page 7 of this document says, “For the first time, UK Government departments have been allocated their own carbon budgets.” This flatly contradicts your previous response when you said, “The five year Carbon Budgets introduced by the Climate Change Act 2008 set a cap or limit on greenhouse emissions on an overall economy wide basis and therefore don’t apply on an individual sectoral basis or a particular policy basis.

Likewise, Page 36 says, “To stay on track, the Government is moving to a radical new approach. Every major decision now needs to take account of the impact on the carbon budget.” It is therefore not acceptable that for you to say that there has been no carbon budget impact assessment of pursuing Trident.

The comment on page 7 suggests that there should be a specific carbon budget for the ministry of defence and the arms industry. The comment on page 36 suggests that a decision to proceed with Trident should be subject to a carbon impact assessment. There can be no decision in government more major than the Trident replacement.

Please confirm that UK Low Carbon Transition Plan will be adhered to when it comes to the Trident Replacement.

I also note that the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan relies on carbon capture and storage being successful. As this is proving to be a failure globally, then there needs to be increasing focus on carbon budgets elsewhere and honesty in impact assessments.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Lister
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