Ed Miliband explains the government’s position on 10:10 – if only everyone in cabinet could be this clear and direct
Last night, only a small handful of Labour MPs voted in favour of the government signing up to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions from public buildings by 10% in 2010.
The Opposition Day Motion, submitted by the Lib Dems, called on government buildings to adhere to the 10:10 proposals – as 51 councis, 850 schools, 1,200 businesses and 35,000 individuals have already done. It was defeated by 297 to 226 after the government whip was applied.
On first glimpse, this seems like an incredibly regressive step, and the media reports have subsequently painted the vote in a negative light.
I, too, was initially confused by the vote, so contacted Ed Miliband, the climate change secretary, who has explained the government’s position in more detail:
Ed tells me:
“10:10 is a campaign which Labour supports: all Cabinet ministers have signed up to try to reduce their CO2 emissions by 10% in 2010. It’s a great motivator of public action to cut carbon emissions through individual and collective behaviour change and I hope it helps to build public support for action by governments to agree an ambitious, effective and fair deal at Copenhagen.
It’s also true that signing up can be an important step to sustaining long term emissions cuts. That’s why Labour-run councils and Labour groups are signing up to 10:10; we want local authorities to have local carbon budgets, and signing up to 10:10 is an important step towards that goal.
But as a government we have a much bigger, long term goal that we set out in the framework of Climate Change Act last year. Five months ago we put flesh on that framework when we agreed – with the support of the Lib Dems and the official Opposition – the first three carbon budgets for this country. Those budgets are 3 five year cycles moving from last year to 2022.
So every government department is committed to a long term reduction in carbon emissions – not just in 2009, not just in 2010, but through to 2022 and beyond. The public sector has already reduced its emissions by a third between 1990 and 2007 and the Government is on track to meet and exceed its carbon emissions target of 12.5% reductions from across its estate by 2010-11.
Se’re now allocating £20 million pounds to cut CO2 emissions from both the government estate and its transport to achieve those goals.”
If only the rest of the cabinet could explain the government position as quickly and clearly as Mr Miliband, we might get some good press occasionally.