I know it's a light news week, but after the release of a list of Great Britons which included Aneurin Bevan but not Winston Churchill, you might have thought that a lesson would have been learned. Oh no. Hot off the press is the Conservative Party's Envorinmental Heroes and Zeros of 2006. Among the heroes of Keely Hazell, a page 3 girl "for going Green in 2006 and for offering helpful tips (that's TIPS...) on how to help fight global warming".
Another Conservative hero is Al Gore "for his film An Inconvenient Truth, which brought home the threat of climate change to millions of people". He is joined on the list by Sir Nicholas Stern "for authoritatively placing an economic cost on the threat of climate change and for asserting the need for action in the clearest terms". Arnold Schwarzenegger is a hero "for making California the first US State to put greenhouse gas reductions into State law". And just for good measure they thrown in Labour MP Colin Challen "for his energetic work as Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group". That should do him a lot of good in his reselection battle with Ed Balls...
Anti heroes in the list include Exxon "for continuing to fund 'think tanks' which deny that human activity is contributing to climate change", Ryan Air's Michael O'Leary, the Competitive Enterprise Institute "for responding to Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" with an ad campaign with the strap-line " Carbon Dioxide: they call it pollution. We call it Life"". They are joined by Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander "for an aviation policy that is totally inconsistent with the Government’s supposed attempts to tackle climate change".
This, of course, begs the question: how would a Conservative Aviation policy be different? The implication is that aircraft will be taxed out of the skies as cheap fares are consigned to the dustbin of history. I hope when the Quality of Life policy commission reports later in 2007 that it will look at green incentives rather than a whole plethora of green taxes, as Dizzy suggests HERE and HERE...
"There is no incentive present when you use tax to punish people into changing their ways. Genuine incentives do not use negativity (in this case financial pain) as a means to an end. Attempting to draw a distinction between increased tax and incentives is like arguing in favour of torture because it provides an incentive to talk. Incentives are positive benefits that are acheived from a neutral status-quo position. You do not move the goalposts then ask for money as an incentive to move them back, there is only one name for that, and it's blackmail. To argue as Miliband does is at best disingenuous, and at worst intellectually fatuous."
Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth comments on the list:
“2006 was the year when the environment took its rightful place at the centre of British
politics. It became a fact not worth disputing that climate change is an enormous issue requiring urgent action if we are to prevent an ecological, economic and social catastrophe, and if the UK is to reap the potential rewards of green growth. This list is by no means comprehensive, but takes a look at some of those who have been a part of the solution in 2006, and some who are still part of the problem – in the hope that they will do better next
Let me make it clear. Al Gore is no hero of mine. Never was. Never will be. Arnie, on the other hand...