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Tony Blair’s Green Push For Kyoto II :: The Slant / UK News
May 20th
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Politics/Current Affairs

Tony Blair’s Green Push For Kyoto II

Sunday, February 18th, 2007 at 16:51 by Sue Stewart

Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor of the Independent Online, has hailed Tony Blair as the “unlikely architect” of Kyoto II, a follow-up proposed by the Prime Minister to - you’ve guessed it - Kyoto I.

Blair may make the right noises when he talks about climate change, but I think the phrase “if the agreement is eventually pulled off, there is no gainsaying that much of the credit would genuinely be his” is going a bit far. Kyoto’s spectacular failure get the Bush administration to sign up to the treaty on carbon emissions shouldn’t be forgotten as easily as that and if there is a U.S. change of heart, it certainly won’t be Tony Blair’s doing.

And as much as I’d like to see Inuits camping out on the Whitehouse lawn to protest US policy on climate change (a delegation is going to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights next month to condemn “acts and omissions by the US, [that] violate the Inuit’s fundamental human rights protected by the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man”), I doubt they are much to do with Bush’s change of heart, either. It’s the general opinion in America that’s shifting, it seems, and Bush is running for cover. The Democrats, naturally, are pelting him with shite to make him run even faster.

So before we get all dewy-eyed about Tony Blair’s tireless enthusiasm for curbing carbon emissions, let’s not forget that while he’s waving the eco flag in one hand, he’s got a ‘Radioactive’ sticker in the other. This is the government that decided to go ahead with a programme of new nuclear power stations, after all.

Or they had, until Greenpeace took the matter to the High Court and contended that the decision was unlawful. The High Court agreed. Greenpeace state: “Mr Justice Sullivan [said] in his opinion the review was ‘seriously flawed’ and the process was ‘manifestly inadequate’ and ‘unfair’ because insufficient and ‘misleading’ information had been made available by the government for consultees to make an ‘intelligent response’.”

Insufficient and misleading information? Haven’t we heard that somewhere before? Oh, sorry - I forgot. We don’t mention the war.

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10 Comments on “Tony Blair’s Green Push For Kyoto II”

  1. Roger Thomas Says:

    I get the impression that the Independent know very little about the environment and only maintain the pretence by ignorong anything by anyone who does. One minute they give space to Lovelock who believes we have gone past a point of no return, the next give some accolade to Tony Blair for some initaitive that wont even start if it does until after 2012, that is also completely useless. If you want to get really into how much TB cares about the environment get into this bit of conspiracy theory. Well it’s not actually theory.


    Another thing about the Independent and why they wont take anything from me is because they like to think they support the UK Chief Scientist for coming up with the now famous risk assessment in 2004 that “climate change is greater threat than terrorism”
    They don’t like the idea that he didn’t and wasn’t the original author, also who produced the outline agenda for the G8 in Perthshire and Chancellor Browns sudden interest in Africa. Well they all come from a UNED-UK report commisioned by the UK Governemnt. Try this


  2. DannyMackay Says:

    Tony Blair has an odd role on the international stage. He is genuinely seen as a succesful global leader who has made real progress on international development and climate change.

    Its an odd role since everyone in his own country, including his own party, hates him. Sure thats mostly because of the unmentionable war, but once a leader is hated, all ‘achievements’ are ignored or at least played down.

    So perhaps he’ll have two legacies - one abroad where he was a leader who rebuilt his country and led a global revolution in international development and environmental policy.

    And the other at home - where he was a mass murdering butcher who wasted the nation’s good will and did nothing good whatsoever.

    That would be unique…

  3. Roger Thomas Says:

    If there is a point in the future when we look back on history, I think Tony Blair will be seen as a hinderence to global ecological development. I don’t see climate change as a problem, more a symptom of global ecological life support system collapse. Climate change is unfortunately a nice simple soundbite for politicians to use. Obscuring the real issues.

    It’s all spin and style over substance. if he is the leader on global environmental policy, we are all dead.

  4. DannyMackay Says:

    Roger - You illustrate the Brittish view of Tony Blair perfectly. ie he is a complete failure and deserves no credit for absolutely anything at all because he is fundementally a bad man who embodies everything bad in politics.

    hence I think he’ll have two legacies - one around the world where he is admired for rebuilding his country and leading the international agenda. - and one at home where he will be forever derided as a complete failure on everything.

    I’m not sure if thats just because familiarity breeds contempt (heaven knows what the UK would think of some one truely awful like Chirac or Bush in charge of our country) - or whether its because we know more about him than the rest of the world and thus have good reason to hate him and all his endevours.

    I tend to think its a combination of the two.

  5. Sue Stewart Says:

    DannyMackay wrote: [Tony Blair has] an odd role since everyone in his own country, including his own party, hates him.

    I don’t think Tony Blair’s hated (except in the British way of hating whoever’s in power on principle) - not like Margaret Thatcher was/is. I know of people who still keep a day’s holiday free each year, just in case she dies. And it’s not for a day of mourning.

    He isn’t respected here, though. He’s very convincing (on occasion), plausible and pragmatic - he had to be to get Labour back into power after the so-called ‘Loony Left’ years. Yet however dotty and out of touch with reality Michael Foot, Tony Benn and the Labour old guard might have seemed, no-one really doubted their integrity, I think. But everyone doubts Blair, because he’s proved himself a bit too plausible - a bit too slippery. It’s a typically British backlash, I suppose.

  6. DannyMackay Says:

    I was sort of exagerating my contrast a bit by saying he is hated at home while those abroad think he rebuilt the UK. But you are right. The dislike of Blair is not akin to the hatred that so many people had for Thatcher.

    Although if you look at the condition of the NHS, the economy, and our education system now - Blair would probably be cruising towards a fourth election victory now if it wasn’t for the Iraq war.

    Everything changed with that.

  7. Roger Thomas Says:

    I am not sure whether it is with the benefit of hindsight that hatred, if that is too strong a word, comes about. It is the wasted time political parties have while in power. Even Cameron is trying to distance himself from Thatcher and what she did, we are now paying the price for her wasted years and legacy. Probably the same will happen with Blair, time will show his time in power was a waste, when in the future we will increasingly pay the price for his wrong decisions and lack of true vision. Blair was good at getting Labour re elected but didn’t have much idea of what to do when in power. Time will tell.

  8. DannyMackay Says:


    such negativity? How come? You acknowledge yourself it will be years before we reap the consequences of Blair’s policies - So how are you so certain they won’t be beneficial?

    Take education

    - Thatcher’s school policies (of massive cuts in capital spending, and general under funding leading to under staffing) didn’t really have an impact until the late 1990s when kids who had started in the education conditions she created started getting their GCSE’s (or failing to). Those starting school in 1988 didn’t reach 16 until 1999.

    Likewise it is only in recent years we have seen the first full impact of the National curriculum on those educated in the system Major created. And remarkably the signs have been fairly positive with more children staying on to 18 than in the past.

    So with Blair - we won’t see the impact of the additional teachers, the new school buildings, the massive extra spending, the smaller class sizes, the emphasis on basic skills in early years and so on, for years to come.

    In case its not clear from my example - Education in one of those areas where I think Labour has done brilliantly well. The early signs are really good with young children already having risen to near the top of the OECD for first language, maths and science. And schools in the inner cities, though still behind the average, have been improving results much faster than the average improvement in the last three years or so.

  9. Roger Thomas Says:

    Virtually everytime Blair mentions education he has to say for the economic benefit of the country. Children are not being educated for wisdom or understanding, he just sees them in the context of economic units.
    Then they see a world being destroyed by economic greed which they are being told or could probably work out for themselves means they don’t have future. So there appears to be an objective to teach children to contribute to their own desruction. Its all league tables and performance. The either underachieve or have to do hours of pointless homework, stressing them out. Is it any wonder the UN report showed them as the unhappiest in the developed world.
    The mistake Blair made as will be shown was instead of going education, education, education he should have gone environment, environment, environment.

  10. DannyMackay Says:

    virtually every time Blair mentions education he also mentions that it is the best method of raising people from poverty and empowering them in their adulthood.
    And do kids really see the world being destroyed by economic greed? Sure middle class kids might, and they sign up readilly to join in and do well at school - the most dissafected kids are the working class kids who then give up on education and on society as a whole.
    And they ain’t doing that for the good of the environment…

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