back to article UK in 80% emissions slash pledge

The UK will reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by the year 2050, the Brown government has pledged. Plans to subsidise household wind turbines and solar panels were also announced, and a warning was given to energy companies to stop overcharging poorer customers and those with no access to gas. The …


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  1. Andy
    Paris Hilton


    I can't quite understand how this would be achievable. Something like 30% of our national emissions (more if you discount aviation) are from building work. To stand even the slightest chance of getting down to 20% of current levels, you'd have to magically halve (or more) the emissions from building. Has anyone invented carbon neutral concrete yet?

    Equally, all the solar panels in the world aren't going to impact the power requirements of the vast majority of the housing stock - a good proportion of which will still be standing (leaning?) in 2050.

    I'm a great believer in new technology riding to the rescue, and do genuinely expect to see some big advances in renewables. However, this goal seems to be way beyond realistic. Am I missing something (other than the cynical thought that politicians are not engineers, and know full well that by 2050 these obligations will be someone else's problem).

    Paris because it's a miserable Friday afternoon.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I can't tell which Milliband is crazier

    Easy target to commit to when you won't be the one expected to achieve it. I expect they are relying on financial crash, decimated industry and a population reduced by famine, disease and migration to meet the target, possibly achievable if this shower stay in power.

  3. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    Great - so all our green efforts will still be in vain, as EasyJet and their ilk will still be able to offer flights for £5.

    I won't believe any government is serious about carbon usage until they start enforcing cutbacks on flights.

  4. Steven Jones

    They have no clue

    That is they have no clue how to achieve this. I can't find a source to tell me the last time that CO2 equivalent emissions in the UK we below 20% of the current levels. My guess is some time during the early years of the railways, so some time in the 1840s. At that point the population would have been around a third of the current level. So we now have to achieve a level of CO2 equivalent emission which is maybe less than a third per head than it was in the 1840's.

    20% of CO2 equivalent emissions is not that much higher than the food sector in the UK which was estimated at about 14% from memory.

    Of course what would really happen is substitution - inductries generating lots of CO2 emissions will naturally gravitate to where the cost penalty is least.

    I think what will be found - possibly, or even probably, in a catastrophic mannner that it is simply not possible to sustain a population level in the UK of 60 million or more on the basis of a CO2 equivalent emission level of just 20% of the current amount. It's about time the truth was accepted, and that is that the current worldwide population levels are unsustainable and we are only able to do so by using the limited resources laid down over hundreds of millions of years.

    No major political party (or environmentatl body) is telling the truth here - they are living in a dream land. As it happens 2050 is not that far away - I may not be around to see it, but plenty of people readihng this site will be, as might a few politicians. Recent financial events show just how the veneer of control is paper thin and a mirage. This will be another example.

  5. Euan Ramsay

    That elephant again...

    I've said it before and I'll say it again...

    There's too many people! Less people = less CO2. Simple.

    There are ways (simple, ethical ones ways too) to gradually reduce population and therefore CO2 output without:

    a) destroying the economy

    b) introducing Soylent green to the Supermarket shelves

    Speaking of which - watch that timebomb called "India"...they're still firing out kids like it's the dark ages, but they've got the survival rates of the 1950's...pity the food, power and water supplies have remained static, and now they're suffering more from overcrowding, pollution, preventable flood & landslides, malnutrition and disease...

  6. boltar Silver badge

    Another empty political gesture

    This administration knows full well it won't have to carry out any of these plans so it can happily chuck out pledges until the cows come home - nothing with actually happen. If they were really serious about climate change they'd have told all the yoghurt knitting CND hippies to go swivel on their organic tofu , and would have already started building a load of nuclear power stations since renewables cannot supply all our power needs even if they covered the whole country in windmills.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Does this include CO2 shipped overseas?

    Will the CO2 generation for the UK include that produced by industries shipped overseas but which the UK is still the consumer of?

    Once you factor that in has anyone in the EU been able to reduce their overall production?

  8. andy
    Thumb Down

    Hang on a second!

    Dont forget, kids, that Climate change isnt real -- well, not the man-made kind anyway.

    It's all a big scam that the public are expected to pay for with higher taxes, in return for....nothing... no more holidays abroad, no more fancy techno-gadgets, no nice cars, nada, because we will all feel too guilty to have anything above and beyond BASIC.

    Well, I'm not buying it...

  9. ElFatbob

    mmmmm....i smell sh*te

    and an excuse for more 'green taxes' (awww, come on - you know it's good for you, after all Nanny NuLabour says so)

    All economies are currently driven by the availability of cheap energy. That source, at the moment, is oil based energy (and isn't likely to substantially change in the next 4 decades). I'm not great at maths, but:

    more population + more economic 'growth' = more energy

    more energy = more oil

    more oil = more CO2

    and sorry tree-huggers, fart power is not going to solve our energy demands anytime in the near furture

  10. George Speller

    Let there be no panic . . .

    . . . once we get all those nasty filiament lighbulbs banned, and those lovely polluting emetic Toc H "energy saving" bulbs rammed down people's throats - or wherever - all will be well. Trust us. It'll be especially good for you if you're a bulb/light fittng/spectacle manufacturer.

    Poison sign for landfill mercury residues in ESLs

  11. Aron
    Paris Hilton

    Carbon based life forms

    How about we just ask the "government" to create a law that "bans" all essential ingredients of life or classify them all as pollutants???? - Paris Hilton (just as dumb as Miliband the Lesser aka Quasimodo)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My dad can beat up Miliband's dad

    Honest. I'll bet you anything.

    Now that the financial crisis is causing a recession, why aren't Miliband and his merrie greene band of fellow travelers not celebrating? I mean, THEY HAVE ACHIEVED THE ZERO GROWTH ECONOMY that they always wanted. Perhaps they are already plotting the next steps: first, we are all to live in yurts (consequent from the crisis). That will produce the desired reduction in CO2 emissions, as people die of cold, flu, sneezes, badly prepared peas pottage, or more likely the species-jumping flesh-eating MRSA they have found in the Netherlands which would like to migrate here. Do not underestimate these nulabour overlards - they have still months and months to tarfu the UK before we can recycle them.

  13. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Re: How and Elephants

    We have an aging population and are not managing a replacement level of new births.

    Fewer people means we only have to FIX housing, not build more.

    Thereby answering "how" and showing that, for the UK the elephant is shrinking.


  14. RogueElement

    The UK will reduce its carbon emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by the year 2050

    PMSL - We'll have an 80% reduction by next spring under the current economic climate.

  15. Danny Thompson

    How on earth did we ....

    ..... ever vote these f*ckwits into a position of power? You couldn't make this stuff up!

    Here we all are, with still 42 years to go until 2050, old and frail people dying in their homes either through cold or starvation because they cannot afford to heat and eat. And we have this idiot politician worrying about 50 years time! With a bit of luck by 2050 he'll be nothing more than some grey dust in a vase on someone's mantlepiece or feeding a rose bush somewhere.

    We do not need this kind of policy from those in power today. What we do need is effective and urgent attention to the inattention of their entire reign of power. They had plenty of opportunity to see this coming, everyone else seems to have. But instead they couldn't see further than the bottom of the feeding trough that they still have their grubby snouts buried in.

    Urgent plan of action;

    1) Tell the Greens to get lost, ignore them, or better still make a law banning them (they're more dangerous than pit bull terriers)

    2) Start building Nuclear plant to match our national requirements, just like the French have done.

    3) Force the motor vehicle manufacturers to release EV technology that they have either buried or are holding back until that magical year 2010 (anyone noticed how all of them are going to be selling EV in 2010, but not right now?).

    4) Stop building on floodplains and using the fully anticipated flooding to promote the false religion of man-made global warming

    5) Repeal all Green legislation (its all based on falsehoods and oppression)

    6) Invest the nation in solar panel technology - the prices are silly and punitive

    7) Enforce the recyling of heat from industry and power generation into local housing (like we used to in Victorian times!)

    8) Develop, support, encourage integrated mass transport solutions - not the half-arsed stuff that purports to be where busses miss trains and routes only cover the lucrative areas

    9) Restore national ownership of our utilities, these do not belong in foreign nations hands - but at all counts do not allow Government control of these, set up a consortium

    10) Strictly limit UK population and growth through immigration - we cannot turn the UK into a European council estate.

  16. kain preacher

    Start by

    Having %80 reduction in politicians

  17. michael


    "I'm a great believer in new technology riding to the rescue, and do genuinely expect to see some big advances in renewables. However, this goal seems to be way beyond realistic. Am I missing something (other than the cynical thought that politicians are not engineers, and know full well that by 2050 these obligations will be someone else's problem)."

    maby the anoucment last mounth of a project to buld a test fusion pland called HiPER or somthign like that it it works 2050 is plenty of time to have a all fusion power ecomany maby with the use of electric cars and all electric heating and the fact we will have no manfucturing indrestry at all we should easley make that cut

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @ michael re: How?

    There is something you have overlooked, just one small oversight. The effect of successive governments provide pupils with an education system where they are permitted to specialise it such heady topics as "hairdressing", "art appreciation" and "politics". As a direct result of this, and coupled with a massive lack of funding, support and respect and also a huge increase in stupid regulations, uneccessary paperwork and league tables... there are no longer any scientists, engineers and other "useful" members of society - with the obvious exception of ElReg writers, editors, censors^Hproof-readers, and contributors. And how could anyone overlook Paris, next president of the US.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    No small change needed

    Well! this has generated a lot of hot post and no wonder.

    I have been living with the thought that we have to get down to 20% or better for some years and I have been looking at the how not the why. This country currently burns very approximately 250m tons of fuel per year.

    That 20% that we will be allowing ourselves will be for transport and the chemical input for things we make eg plastics, paint etc. The rest of the energy has to be from renewables. It should be fairly obvious that windmills will not do it on their own. You could cover all the roofs in the country with photovoltaic cells and it might come close. In fact if we take every energy conservation measure and do all that we can in gathering energy from all the sources there is still an enormous shortfall.

    There are two possible solutions. One to reduce the population to 50% by one means or another; but that would not solve the global problem. We have to go for non carbon energy sources this means electricity. If we manage a huge reduction in consumption we might get away with an electrical capacity of twice the existing system. As the carbon allowance will be fully used by other demands, the main component of generation will be nuclear. The life of a nuclear plant is some 30 years; each plant has a capacity of about 1gW; so to get the120gW we need in 2050 means we have to start building at not less than 4 plants per year, and we have to keep this up indefinitely.

    Big ask? You bet.

  20. Marco

    Polarstern circles North Pole

    For the first time ever a research vessel succeeded in circling the North Pole, as so much ice has melted away that both the Northeast and the Northwest Passages are free of ice:

    But neither you nor Mr. Goddard, who seems strangely absent lately, cared to explain that when it was pointed out to you months ago:,1518,574815,00.html

  21. michael

    re:Polarstern circles North Pole

    " For the first time ever a research vessel succeeded in circling the North Pole, as so much ice has melted away that both the Northeast and the Northwest Passages are free of ice:

    But neither you nor Mr. Goddard, who seems strangely absent lately, cared to explain that when it was pointed out to you months ago:,1518,574815,00.html"

    one swollow dose not a summer make

    think about it

  22. Mark


    This isn't a swallow.

    This is removal of CENTURIES of ice from the north pole. If it were in a place that didn't keep the snow, maybe you'd have something.

    But here you don't.

  23. michael

    @ mark

    it was a coment that a one off event dose not make a trend it it happens year on year then it is a trend a one off event is a freek

  24. Mark


    And to melt hundred year old ice either requires a space laser (a' la James Bond Villain) or decades of warmer weather.

    Which IS cimate change.

  25. Henry Cobb
    Thumb Down

    Fusion waste

    This comment is actually about the Greenpeace fusion article, which isn't open for comments yet.

    D-T fusion will indeed produce nuclear waste, if not lead to nuclear accidents in the same way as fission allows.

    The reaction is one atomic nucleus with one proton and one neutron running into another atomic nucleus with one proton and two neutrons and resulting in an atomic nucleus with two protons and two neutrons along with a lone neutron (that has most of the energy), but it beats waiting around 10 billion years for the weak force to do its thing.

    The problem is with the high energy neutrons which will randomly run into various parts of the reactor assembly, turning some of them into radioactive materials which will then have to either be treated as nuclear waste or assembled into toys by the Chinese.


  26. Norfolk Enchants Paris
    Paris Hilton


    Oh good lord, not this again.

    Point 1:

    The Northeast passage is regularly navigable, which is why there are so many seaports along the route. The Northwast passage is sometimes navigable but not as often as the northeast, mainly because the landmass of Greenland is more northerly than Russia.

    So, you need two things to make this super news item

    1: The common NorthEast passage opening at the same time as the less regular NorthWest

    2: Some goons with a boatand a point to make.

    Some Irish dudes did the NorthWest in 2001 armed with little more than a small boat and 300Kg of Po-tay-ters. That year they theoretically could have also done the NE but (a) they didn't want to because it wouldn't have proved much and (b) they'd run out of Guinness. I may have made (b) up.

    Point 2:

    Age of Earth: 4 billion years (or about 4000 if you are Sarah Palin)

    Length of time Man has been wombling about the North Pole in boats: 1000 years (actually a lot less but lets use round numbers)

    Percentage of World Age that Man has tried this whole 'sail round the poles' mullarkey: 0.000025%.

    It is then extremely likely that this has happened in the past and in fact entirely possible that we may have been in an artificially cold period of late.

    Paris: because one swallow wouldn't make a summer but would make for a great night...

  27. Mark

    Oh God, Not This Again

    Point 1. Nope, not that north west passage. Not without taking YEARS by

    a) going into the ice

    b) getting stuck in the ice

    c) waiting for the ice to drift to where you want to go

    d) waiting for the ice to melt again so you can get off

    Point 2: Try living on the earth c 3Bn years ago. Your "point" is pointless. We have enough information to say that for our sort of life to exist we have "THIS" sort of climate. That sort of climate should not be getting warmer now and it DEFINITELY shouldn't be getting that much warmer that much quicker. Hell, 4 billion years ago, where was the ice then? And this point was about the ice sheet at the North Pole, was it not, so how the FUCK does it have anything to do with a 4Bn year old earth???

    The early earth's atmosphere and climate is irrelevant as to whether 17trillion kilos of CO2 humans are putting out from burning fossil fuels each year is causing a greenhouse effect. CO2 does it. And the change recently in temperature CANNOT be explained by without that CO2 being included at the effect being used by climate models. Climate models that say there is a severe problem with AGW.

    Now, if you want to try again, please explain things to do with North Pole ice melting. And if you want to bring up that old horseshit about "it's been open before", please let us know when, with what and how long it took. Then compare it with open water sailing through the newly opened NWP that can be navigated by ordinary shipping as long as they accept the risk if broken lumps of ice hitting them in open water.


  28. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    @mark (again...)

    OK Mr Eco-Zealot.

    You made the allegation, you prove that Gloabl Warming is man-made and exists *in isloation to the natural pattern of global cooling and warming*

    Explain to me, within the context of your argument:

    - Why Grapes were grown in Newfoundland (where it is now too cold by far for them) in about 1200. Note: This was before significant man-made CO2 emissions

    - How we know the extent of the ice sheet in the North 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, 2000 years ago. We don't, and that is a fact.

    - How Amundsen navigated the northwast passage famously (not famously enough for you) in 1903 - somewhat before climate change crap

    - Why the northeast passage was commercially used from around 1935 until the decline of the Soviet Union

    all of which disprove the theory that the earth is unusually warm now - and I could go on.

    The point I was trying to make (and may not have done so very well) is that we simply do not have enough conclusive data to prove that current human activity is the actual cause of this, or indeed whether or not we should be alarmed about it being unnatural. Macro weather cycles are immensely long and the earth was much warmer than it is now - while still supporting complex life like mammals and dinosaurs and so on - millions of years ago. It's also been much, much colder.

    Now that we are measuring things in minute amounts, we assume that a minute change is not normal and our fault?

  29. Mark

    @Norfolk Enchants Paris

    Ah, I see. You are losing so you call me a zealot.

    Nice angle there.

    1) Grapes are now grown further north than they were at the height of the MWP. Newfoundland isn't the world.

    2) We know because people were sailing boats that couldn't go through ice. We can see the age of ice in cores so know how old the ice that was there in 1980 (or whenever we drilled the core) and know that the ice sheets have been at least that big (and possibly bigger) for at least that length of time.

    3) That is not the same passage as is cleared here and the siberian run required specialist ships for icebreaking. Now they don't.


  30. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    Hi Dave!

    Ice cores huh? To measure the extent of ice melt?

    How do you drill ice that's melted? Water cores?

    Ice cores only work in areas of permanent ice. The age of the ice in them is estimated using a variety of techniques (none guaranteed to be accurate, but good enough) and the temperature at the time is estimated by the presence of a bunch of indicators. However, this is problematic as it relies on a series of assumptions which cannot yet be proven. The composition of the atmosphere at the time is easier to determine, although even that it problematic because it relies on air being trapped in the ice - and this can take several hundred years to actually happen. So while the common belief is that ice cores can tell you the temperature and the amount of certain gases in the atmosphere, they aren't an exact thing. The stage of science based on assumptions and incomplete data is the hypothectical stage and should really be focusing on developing multiple hypotheses and disproving them to arrive at the truth. My beef with Paleoclimatology is that it has only looked seriously at one hypothesis.

    The chief reason that boats never sailed around the top of Russia commercially before 1935 is that Russia (and subsequently the USSR) closed it to international shipping because it effected such a lovely way for ships to get from the Pacific to Russia - including warships. Specialist ships weren't required most summers.

    The fact that there was a MWP (which you yourself brought up) shows that this type of warming has happened before without human CO2 emissions. Nefoundland is a good example of this as it patently cannot support grapes today.

    Lastly, if you need to resort to insults try something better as *fuckwit* only demeans you, not me. I'm happier to stick to science.

  31. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    How do you drill ice that's melted?

    You don't.

    You can tell the age of ice. So you

    a) drill the ice

    b) find out the age of the ice

    and since if it had melted it would no longer be ice, that ice at that layer has not melted for the age of that ice.


    We REALLY need a male dumbass icon. Get on it Reg.

  32. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    PS, @NEP

    It's a little ironic that in the same post as you prove how much of a fuckwit you REALLY are, you tell me not to call you fuckwit because that's a personal attack and proof that there's no real argument.

    Uh, it's not an attack when you ARE a fuckwit. Merely truth.

  33. Norfolk Enchants Paris


    I am sorry to see that some people here can't contribute to a reasoned and balanced argument.

  34. Mark


    As long as "lying" counts as a reasoned and balanced argument, you're right.

    I notice you still haven't accepted that you can tell the age of ice. Where's that balance gone? Or is balance code for "agrees with me!"?

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