Does Hilary Benn matter?

He does if you read FP Passport, whatever that is (thanks Inel). He says Nobody is really arguing about the science. Everybody acknowledges the cost of doing something is a lot less than the cost of doing nothing. Everybody acknowledges that each of us has a part to play. The question is, how do you define that? Arguably (so to speak) no-one has been arguing about the science for quite a long time; though people have been using cherry-picked bits of sci as weapons (RP Jr’s favourite meme). Invisibly, of course, there is still lots of science to discuss, most obviously over how much sea level rise we might get.

But what is missing from Benns statement, as from so much govt rhetoric (see Broons conf speech) is the acknowledgement that all the stuff they are actually contemplating doing and paying for isn’t nearly enough to get to the 50-60% targets they are talking about. There is lots of back-patting about jobs-from-greening but rather less talking about the costs.

Anyway, Benn continues: Benn, and everyone else I talked to, stressed the importance of the December meeting in Bali. “We can’t have another gathering where people say, ‘Hmmm, yeah, hmmm, I’ll think about it.’ We’ve got to get going.” Anything less than binding emissions reductions targets would widely be considered a failure, since only binding targets will make a carbon market viable. My prediction is that this is exactly what will happen: it will be yet another meeting without binding targets. I’ve only got about £30 in sea ice bets so far (and an indeterminate amount of beer for RA, but how much beer can one man drink in a week :-?) so there is plenty left over if anyone out there is naive enough to bet that they *will* agree some targets. Perhaps HB might take me up?


  1. #1 Magnus W

    Who are they?

  2. #2 JamesG

    “What are we going to do when refugees turn up on the shores of your country fleeing not political persecution, but environmental catastrophe? Economically, what are you going to do when the markets that maybe your constituents earn their living making goods to sell into are no longer there because they’re too busy swimming for their lives because sea levels have risen?”
    Quite fond of Hollywood movies isn’t he?

  3. #3 Zeke

    Since my University is paying for my flight to Bali, I can spare $10 to wager on an outcome of an agreement (or the framework for an agreement) on binding targets.

    I’ll probably lose the bet, but I think both of us will be rooting for me to win.

    [OK, $10 so far, let me know if you're prepared to go any higher. Can I add that the targets have to be meaningful - limits that won't affect BAU don't count -W]

  4. #4 Phil

    They’ll commit to working towards setting targets to work towards setting targets to commit to…

    .. and fiddle while Rome burns.

    Anything other than actually do anything.

  5. #5 Magnus W

    But seriously who are they? Who need to sign the paper so we know what’s needed to win loos the bet?

    [Ah good point. I don't know. I'm just assuming nothing will come of it. ZH says he is going so perhaps he knows -W]

  6. #6 Zeke

    I’ll agree that any binding targets would have to be different from BAU. I’ll limit it to $10 for now, mostly because I expect to lose.

    As far as who goes to Bali, its the usual traveling carnival that accompanies major UN meetings, with tens of thousands of NGO folks, businesses, scientists, etc. The people who actually matter (and who get to “sign the paper”) are the official negotiators of all the countries that are signatory to the UNFCCC (which is pretty much everyone).