Tony Blair's stance on war with Iraq has tarnished his political standing in Britain and overshadowed his support for a less carbon-intensive, more sustainable British economy.

Blair's Low-Carbon Economy

Prime Minister's introduction to government white paper on Britain's energy future.

By EV World

British Prime Minister Tony Blair may agree with the Bush Administration on the need for "regime change" in Iraq, but when it comes to the subject of global warming, the Kyoto Treaty and renewable energy, he might as well be Jacques Chirac. In addition to being far more articulate than his American counterpart, Blair also has a much more open-minded view towards the role of renewable energy, energy efficiency and global cooperation than Mister Bush.

We found his introduction to the British government's white paper, "Our Energy Future, Creating a Low Carbon Economy" refreshing in its optimism, though a few critics have called the paper itself long on vision and short on practicality. We thought our readers might find Mr. Blair's comments interesting, even if you don't read the entire 142-page paper, itself. To download 1,785 Kb PDF white paper, right click on the link and "SAVE AS" to your hard drive.]

Energy is vital to a modern economy. We need energy to heat and light our homes, to help us travel and to power our businesses. Our economy has also benefited hugely from our country’s resources of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas.

However, our energy system faces new challenges. Energy can no longer be thought of as a short-term domestic issue. Climate change - largely caused by burning fossil fuels - threatens major consequences in the UK and worldwide, most seriously for the poorest countries who are least able to cope. Our energy supplies will increasingly depend on imported gas and oil from Europe and beyond. At the same time, we need competitive markets to keep down costs and keep energy affordable for our businesses, industries, and households.

This white paper addresses those challenges. It gives a new direction for energy policy. We need urgent global action to tackle climate change. We are showing leadership by putting the UK on a path to a 60% reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. And, because this country cannot solve this problem alone, we will work internationally to secure the major cuts in emissions that will be needed worldwide.

Our analysis suggests that, by working with others, the costs of action will be acceptable - and the costs of inaction are potentially much greater. And as we move to a new, low carbon economy, there are major opportunities for our businesses to become world leaders in the technologies we will need for the future - such as fuel cells, offshore wind and tidal power. Science and technology are vital, and we will be supporting further research and development in these areas.

In parallel, we need access to a wide range of energy sources and technologies and a robust infrastructure to bring the energy to where we want to use it. We will maintain competitive markets in the UK and press for further liberalisation in Europe. And we renew our commitment that no household in Britain should be living in fuel poverty by 2016-18.

This white paper is a milestone in energy policy. It is based on the four pillars of the environment, energy reliability, affordable energy for the poorest, and competitive markets for our businesses, industries and households. This white paper sets out a strategy for the long term, to give industry the confidence to invest to help us deliver our goals - a truly sustainable energy policy.

Tony Blair

Times Article Viewed: 5251
Published: 08-Mar-2003


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