Letter: Green challenge

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The Independent Online
Sir: Charles Arthur neatly summarises the CBI's lobbying position on Britain's target for reducing greenhouse gas pollution after the Kyoto summit ("Labour faces rethink on greenhouse-gas curbs", 12 December).

The CBI would like the Government to "pluck the low-lying fruit" first - which means the domestic housing sector. And there is "little point" in cutting the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, if reductions in methane, nitrous oxide HFCs etc have an equivalent effect. Of course CO2 comes mostly from energy generation.

This is the familiar laissez-faire formula in which industry does nothing to change structurally, and "targets" are simply set at what emissions will be anyway. Hence they are "realistic and achievable".

This is all tinkering in the margins. For cuts of 10-20 per cent such trade-offs may seem ingenious but cuts of up to 60 per cent are needed in a few decades if climate is to be protected.

The CBI needs to accept that UK industry must invest in order to become clean, viable and productive for the future, rather than try to cut corners, put off change and hope that enough householders will lag their lofts to enable boardrooms to continue to snooze peacefully.


Deputy Executive Director

Greenpeace UK

London N1