» Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

Asked for reaction to President Bush’s State of the Union address last night, and in particular if there was disappointment that there were no firm commitments on the environment, the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) replied that it sounded like the journalist had been listening to a different speech. President Bush had announced a commitment to reducing gasoline usage in the United States by 20% by 2017 – this was a firm commitment. This obviously fitted with a situation where there was a momentum building, not just in the States but also worldwide, on energy and climate change. As the Prime Minister had said in the past, he believed that these were flip sides of the same coin.

It was interesting both that this topic was to be top of the agenda in Davos this weekend, and that Chancellor Merkel had said it would be the centrepiece of their G8 Presidency. What we were all working towards was the possibility of a stabilisation goal for a post Kyoto framework and that agreement on the broad elements of the framework would be in place by the G8 summit in June. There was a commitment in what President Bush had said and we now needed to work towards moving that on to a stabilisation goal by the G8.

Asked to explain the process of switching from petrol to maize based ethanol and how this would produce lower emissions, the PMOS replied that it was not for him to speak for the US administration. But in general terms, if there was a situation of switching to fuels that were less pollutant in terms of emissions, then that was a good thing. As we saw when we visited California, the States were the biggest investors in green technology, spending something like $30 billion. We had to get away from the caricatures and recognise that there was a momentum on this issue. Whether it was being pushed by the energy side or the climate change side, the result was the same – more clean, efficient technology and a switch away from pollutants and emissions.

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  1. I have only just discovered this site and reading a few of the most recent entries I was shocked by what I thought was the crude satire designed to make the government look foolish. The State of the Union comments today seemed particularly idiotic.
    I then went to look at the official Downing Street site and discovered that you have simply been repeating what they say. It looks as if even the inner snctum of government has now been taken over by people who want to make Tony Blair look foolish.

    Comment by Daphne Millar — 24 Jan 2007 on 3:30 pm | Link
  2. I think you’re missing the point of this site. It is intended to act as a platform to debate the "official" information that emanates from Downing Street, in finer granularity, via the PMOS.
    Crude satire? Perhaps, but still sometimes an effective form of critique.

    Comment by Will — 24 Jan 2007 on 11:32 pm | Link
  3. And this is indeed a crude satire of a Government.

    Comment by Chuck Unsworth — 25 Jan 2007 on 1:05 pm | Link

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