» Monday, March 12, 2007


Asked why the Chancellor was attending the Climate Change Bill launch, and what was his focus, the PMOS replied that obviously, there were certain spending implications in climate change. This was an overall Government approach, as the Prime Minister would set out very clearly in the Commons this afternoon. The Government’s approach was that there had to be a comprehensive approach, and that meant agreeing as we did on Friday with out European partners, targets for reducing emissions and for renewables. It also meant an across-the-board approach in this country, which focused particularly on how we made homes more energy efficient, how we reduced industry emissions, and also, how aviation emissions would be part of an EU emissions trading scheme as of 2011/2012.

Asked if the Prime Minister had put forward new proposals on "open skies" at the EU Council last week, the PMOS said that that was a matter that remained under active discussion with our EU colleagues. Therefore, it was better that those discussions continued in private.

Asked if Crossrail was seen as part of the green agenda, and did anything come out of the Prime Minister’s meeting last week about it, the PMOS replied that as we had said at the time, the talks were primarily designed to inject new momentum into the discussions. That was why we had brought together representatives of business, local authorities and the agencies involved. We would therefore see what came of it.

Asked if the Prime Minister agreed with the Chancellor that it was tax incentives people needed, rather than penalties to encourage better green behaviour, the PMOS said that he would leave tax to the Chancellor. However, in terms of overall approach, as he had said on many occasions, the Prime Minister did not believe that if people were asked to accept a lower standard of living, that that would result in them taking the environmental action that we all needed. What we did need to do was to show people how they could be more energy efficient, but also, give industry, both in the UK and abroad, the incentive to invest in green technology. There were already 400,000 to 500,000 jobs in the UK that were dependant on developing and producing such technology. The PMOS said that it would not happen unless it was done at a global level, and that was precisely why the Prime Minister started his G8 and EU Presidency by putting climate change on the agenda, and it was why we continued to develop it through Gleneagles and Hampton Court, which resulted in the agreement last week. What that did was give business  the certainty that this was now an EU target, and that meant that they would invest in producing green technology. What was equally important was that we brought in the US, India and China, which was why this year’s G8+5 would be a very important meeting.

Asked if one of the Prime Minister’s priorities was to ensure that ordinary holidaymakers would not be hit, the PMOS replied that as he had said in Brussels last week, the Prime Minister did not believe that going on an aeroplane should be made a criminal offence. Rather, airlines should be incentivised to invest in cleaner planes and cleaner technology. What we had to do overall was to bear in mind that in terms of emissions, the EU estimated that globally, aviation was responsible for 3.5% of emissions. Household activity in this country alone was around 27%, so there was a lot more that could be done in terms of ordinary household activity.

Asked if the Prime Minister was therefore opposed to increasing aviation tax, the PMOS said that what the Prime Minister believed in terms of aviation was that it was important to include it as part of the global approach. That was why we had pressed for, and had now received, aviation emissions to be included as part of the EU trading scheme. That was the way to go forward.

Asked if one way to encourage green behaviour would be to increase taxation on aviation, the PMOS said that the Treasury had already announced the increase in the Air Passenger Duty. The important thing was that we saw it as part of an overall approach; this country could not act unilaterally on an issue such as taxation, as the Treasury had been making clear. If people acted unilaterally, all that would happen was that people would buy their fuel elsewhere and bring it into the UK, or our own airlines would be penalised at the expense of others.

Put that last year, the Chancellor had doubled air tax, and that was not a unilateral act, but one that was deliberately done, and what was the Prime Minister’s view was, the PMOS said that the Prime Minister’s view was that whatever was done should be part of an overall approach that did not harm the interests of this country without having any significant impact on the overall emissions output. In terms of output, people should not get aviation out of perspective. Aviation: 3%. Household activity: 27%. The PMOS said that there were actions that could be taken, such as the emissions trading scheme, and there were ways of developing cleaner technology for aircrafts. However, what we had to do was recognise where the main action had to take place, and that was why there was a commitment to 20% renewables across the EU as a whole, to a 20% emissions cut, and if there was global agreement, 30%.

Asked for further clarification about green taxes, the PMOS said that he did not discuss tax.

Put that it was "incredible" that the PMOS was not able to discuss tax issues, since it was central to what the Government did, the PMOS replied that as people knew, it was a long-standing convention.

Asked if that was because there was a problem with the Chancellor, the PMOS said it was because the Chancellor was the person who announced the tax increases, and not the PMOS.

Asked why the Prime Minister had supported the Chancellor’s tax decision last year, the PMOS said it had sent a signal to the industry. In terms of an overall approach, it was only one element of an overall comprehensive approach, and the key point was that aviation should not be taken in isolation. It should also be recognised that aviation was a small percentage of the overall problem.

Asked what message did that send to the industry, the PMOS replied that what we needed to do was to invest in clean technology and to encourage the industry to do so. Equally, we had to recognise that it was part of a global industry that was not isolated to this country, and therefore measures could not be taken that were isolated to the UK.

Briefing took place at 9:00 | Search for related news


  1. Hello

    We are a newly registered NGO in Sierra Leone called Jahlight Climate Awareness Programme(JCAP). Website http://www.jahlight.org We are currently working on a project profile on mitigating the negative impact of global warming and climate change ,and their effects on development and economic growth in Sierra Leone .The problem of global warming and climate change as an environmental problem is now being felt in most developing Countries like Sierra Leone. In Kenya and Somalia and most of the drought in the Eastern and Central parts of Africa is the direct result of global warming and climate change.

    In most developing countries especially in Africa the negative impact of global warming and climate change have been attributed to God as a result of the evils of mankind. Sierra Leone in recent times has started experiencing environment disaster due to global warming and climate change . The vegetation of the entire border with the Republic of Guinea covering four chiefdom’s are fast change from Guinea Savannah with patches of secondary forest to sahel savannah.the rainfall in this area has been erratic,torrential and disastrous . This has had negative impact on agricultural productivity in terms of low crop yields due to soil erosion and leaching.

    In the Western Area ,where the capital city of Freetown is located ,the hills in this area are presently under serious environmental disasters in terms of erosion as a result of human activities like deforestation for charcoal and timber production. This has also led to serious reduction in rainfall during the past years and consequently affected the catchment area of the Guma Valley Dam which provides water for the city . This has led to acute shortage of water supply in the capital city of Freetown.

    In fact the entire country is now experiencing the negative impact of Global warming and climate change in many different sectors .This situation has led to a group of concerned youths led by Mr Albert Demby to prepare a project proposal for funding and implementation with the following aims and objectives. On behalf of the above named organization I forward
    our interest to affiliate and establish a partnership with your organization. The organization
    main objective is to promote and empower children and young people to become self reliant
    throught employment creation and community development initiatives,and it is also engaged
    in ensuring environmental protection and consciousness in Africa.

    In view of the above ,we would like to collaborate and establish a partnership with youth and environmental protection serving organization as partner in sustainable development and to develop and implement approriate mechanisms to reduce the negative impact of climate change and global warming in Africa. If one man can make a change to reduce carbon emission as a result of human activities ,Sierra Leone can as a country.

    Thanks Albert Demby
    Contact albertdemby@jahlight.org
    0044 2087644002

    Comment by albertdemby — 3 Jul 2007 on 5:43 pm | Link
  2. Hi can you please take a look at our website to see what we are doing in Sierra leone about climate change

    Thanks Albert demby

    Comment by albertdemby — 14 Aug 2007 on 4:07 pm | Link
  3. Hi can you please take a look at our website to see what we are doing in Sierra leone about climate change

    Thanks Albert demby

    Comment by albertdemby — 14 Aug 2007 on 4:08 pm | Link
  4. Hi can you please take a look at our website to see what we are doing in Sierra leone about climate change

    Thanks Albert demby

    Comment by albertdemby — 14 Aug 2007 on 4:09 pm | Link

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