Foreign Policy Blogs

"Oh, to be in England"

Well, over there you have three major political parties fighting and clawing with each other to prove who’s got the better energy and environmental plans.  Over here, you’ve got two parties who seem to compete with each other at times to see who can hold us back.  I quoted Bill McKibben in my inaugural post back in early March about Congress’s record before this year:  “twenty years of inactivity‚ a remarkably successful bipartisan effort to accomplish nothing”  Well, even though one party, the Democrats, newly installed in the majority in both houses this year, have tried to advance progressive energy legislation, the fifth columnists in their own party representing oil and gas interests, the auto industry, and big coal, have been undermining this effort.  (See my last post, and numerous other previous posts from this summer and late spring.)

So, in Britain, you’ve got one of the Conservative’s leading politicians writing an op-ed in the “Financial Times” entitled A strong case for switching to green taxation.  George Osborne’s piece concludes thusly:  “The case for a green tax switch is compelling, and I want to build a consensus across the political spectrum that it should be used alongside carbon trading schemes in the fight against climate change.”  His party is four square for vigorous, progressive approaches to combating the climate change crisis.  For more, go to their website:  Blueprint for a green economy.

Okay, now see this, Labour starts renewable energy drive to win back climate initiative, from the “Guardian.”  It appears that “Labour is in danger of reverting to being seen as the least green of the three.”  I’ve noted how Tony Blair and his administration have voiced concern for climate change and pushed to get things done, and I’ve also talked about Ken Livingstone, London’s mayor, and the extraordinary leadership role he’s assumed.  But the question now is will the British government and the Labor party continue to forge ahead on renewables, energy efficiency and curtailing GHG.

Even the third party, the Liberal Democrats, are pushing hard.  Their manifesto on climate change is hard hitting and even, dare I say it, a little radical.  They have an extensive white paper that calls for a ” Zero Carbon Britain.”  They also are issuing a rallying cry to help lead the world on addressing global warming.

Oh that some of this passion and clear sightedness would travel across the Atlantic and infuse the special interest politicians here with the realization that business as usual doesn’t make it anymore.  We are lobsters in a steadily boiling pot and we’re going to be nicely cooked if we don’t get the heat turned down soon.


Meanwhile, here’s a sobering perspective from the good folks at Architecture 2030:  “Think You’re Making a Difference?



Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change