16 May 2011

Return to Fantasy Island: Targets Wthout Policies

As I suggested last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has settled debate over UK emissions reduction targets in favor of adopting stronger targets far in the future. It seems that he is also interested in continued economic growth.

Meantime, back in the present Cambridge Econometrics reports that the UK has missed it 2010 emissions reduction target, despite the dramatic effects of the economic downturn. The report sees the UK continuing to miss its near-term targets, with the difference between target and performance increasing over time. Environmental groups continue to confuse the effects of a shrinking economic downturn with progress on reducing emissions.  Looking ahead, the UK economy is currently positioned to have economic growth or a continued reduction in emissions, but not both.  Emissions in 2010 increased sharply.

Cambridge Economietrics explains the basic dynamics at work here:
[T]here is now a firm policy commitment (made by the previous government and now endorsed by the Coalition government) but as yet no firm policies in place ...
Targets without policies.  Doesn't sound too promising, does it?