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We’re Toast, John Prescott

It seems that Prezza, our dear beloved Climate Change Chief Negotiator is having an attack of the “Tony Blairs” : back-pedalling on Carbon Dioxide reduction targets :-

“World leaders must not get bogged down in ‘precise percentages’ when they negotiate a successor the Kyoto climate change treaty in Copenhagen, Tony Blair has said.”

“Carbon targets may be too tough, says John Prescott : Emissions plan may have to be watered down to reach a deal, claims former deputy prime minister : Gaby Hinsliff : The Observer, Sunday 23 August 2009 : Targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions may have to be watered down to get a deal at the critical Copenhagen climate summit, the former deputy prime minister John Prescott warns today.”

I don’t think “watering down” targets is a good idea, considering the sea level rise that could result from a melting Greenland and Western Antarctica. You might as well way : “targets…may have to be drowned to get a deal at…Copenhagen”.

“Prescott, who brokered the Kyoto deal on climate change a decade ago and is heavily involved in the current negotiations, risked the wrath of green campaigners by saying it was time for a “plan B” if agreement could not be reached between the main parties.”

If you always wondered who you could really point the finger at about Britain’s lax behaviour at making strong demands at Kyoto, now you know.

“That could involve accepting a longer timetable for cuts in carbon emissions that are supposed to be achieved by 2020 and then by 2050, he suggested, arguing that it was more important to get a deal “on the principles” of how high-carbon lifestyles are tackled worldwide.”

So it’s the “high-carbon lifestyles” that are being targetted, eh ? It’s “blame the citizens” all over again. What about a person’s human rights : access to Carbon-free Energy ? I have a right to use Energy to support my standard of living : electricity, transport, comfort at home, hot water. Most people don’t see why they should give up the Energy which supports their lifestyles. Most people have not made changes to cut their “Carbon footprint”.

Why should I have to make changes in my lifestyle beyond those I have already made ? Why should I preach and moan to my neighbours to cut their Energy use ? Why doesn’t my Government accept its responsibility and supply Carbon-free Energy to its citizens ? Why doesn’t my Government stamp down the Big Fossil Fuel companies and countries and insist on Carbon-free Energy supply ?

John Prescott continues : “”I am saying you had better start preparing in your minds for plan B as well as plan A,” he said. “A lot of people fear that if you moved away from those targets you would get the NGOs screaming and shouting, ‘you have sold out’, but I had to ignore them to get the deal at Kyoto.” He explained that if it were not possible to “dot the i’s and cross the t’s” of targets, then the summit could agree to flesh out the details later so long as the principles of a deal to shift towards low-carbon lifestyles were clear.”

So if John Prescott is going to carry on ignoring citizen groups and non-governmental organisations, then why should any of us bother to campaign ?

John, if you won’t listen to the people, at least listen to the scientists, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We need limits to Carbon, and we need them at a certain rate of implementation in order to avert dangerous Climate Change. That’s what the science says, John, and it’s crazy to ignore that.

“He insisted that common ground could be found despite resistance to targets among developing countries, but there could be “conflict” over the timetable, adding: “We might not be able to get it by 2020 or by 2050 but [we should] agree the principles.””

Our chances of having a meaningful, successful treaty have just plummetted to zilch. If the targets slip and slide away into the future, there is no hope of combatting the problem in time to prevent permanent damage to the ecosphere.

“Prescott, who remains an envoy on climate change for the Council of Europe, has been shuttling between Washington and China talking to key players in the negotiations. This week he will launch a new website,, designed to promote the idea of a fairer settlement on climate change for developing countries and to encourage the public to lobby politicians.”

But we, the public, have been lobbying politicians for decades, and we have been using the Non-Governmental Organisations to be our collective voice, and yet John Prescott seems intent on ignoring us !

“He will follow it up with a tour of schools in the autumn. He supports the idea of targets based on emissions per head, rather than per government – which would be easier for highly populous but relatively underdeveloped countries such as China and India to meet, but tougher on the US – arguing that “social justice” needs to be built into the deal.”

“Emissions per head” is Contraction and Convergence, in effect, so I’m surprised this isn’t mentioned by John Prescott or in the The Guardian article :-

The Guardian continues : “Prescott, who has become an unlikely star of the blogosphere, hopes to use his mastery of social media to galvanise public support for a global warming deal. He has already used Facebook to build a campaign to curb bankers’ bonuses and last week used Twitter to torment the Conservatives over MEP Daniel Hannan’s outbursts against the NHS.”

John Prescott’s major blog achievements so far are connected to the plan to get New Labour elected for a fourth term. Does he hope to make Climate Change a plank for that platform/springboard ?

“Asked what he was doing personally to reduce his carbon emissions, he said he was considering solar panels for his roof and a home wind turbine.”

Well, he’s one of the “Pampered Twenty Percent” (nod to Rhisiart Gwilym who writes on MediaLens if he can afford solar panels. He’d be far better off installing solar heating tubes anyway.

Plus, he should have been told by now that wind turbines in urban areas are near-nigh useless because of the turbulence caused by buildings.

Plus, if he’s so committed to Renewable Energy at home, why hasn’t he tried installing these things already instead of faffing about with his car collection ?

“Prescott: ‘Billy Elliot makes me cry’ : Saturday, February 21, 2009 : Hull East MP John Prescott seems to have caught the blogging bug. The newly cyber-savvy MP has joined in on a new Internet craze – telling virtual friends 25 “random” things about yourself – via his online diary. Mr Prescott has divulged that he does now own two Jaguar cars and why he hit out at a protestor in the egg-throwing incident during the 2001 election campaign…”

I don’t want to be too mean on the poor man. After all he is a respected lecturer in Climate Change…in China :-

“And Finally… John Prescott made professor of climate change at a Chinese university : By James Shepherd on Aug 23, 09 : John Prescott has landed his most bizarre job yet – as professor of climate change at a Chinese university. Prezza has confounded his critics with his new role at Xiamen University on the south east coast of the country where he will give occasional lectures on global warming. The honour is seen as recognition of the former Deputy PM’s role in negotiating the 1997 Kyoto Treaty to combat climate change…”

And he is urging the West to make sacrifices :-

“UN climate change deal needs more sacrifices by West, John Prescott warns : Patrick Wintour, political editor, The Guardian, Saturday 8 August 2009 : Vital UN climate change talks in Copenhagen are likely to collapse unless rich nations agree a “social justice deal” built around equalising emissions per head in each country, according to the former deputy prime minister John Prescott. Speaking to the Guardian, Prescott admitted that the formula would require far greater sacrifices by rich nations, especially the US. Prescott, one of three politicians to broker the original UN climate change deal in December 1997, is to become deeply involved in trying to ensure there is a successor to Kyoto…He is doubtful that the EU member states will even stick to the commitments they make. “For a deal to work it has to have a formula that has an element of equity and social justice in it that reflects the state of each country’s industrial development and its emissions per capita.” China now emits more carbon than America in absolute terms, owing to the size of its population, but in per capita terms the US emits four or five times as much. Prescott warns: “Rich countries are showing great reluctance to face up to the reality of what rationing carbon means for levels of growth and prosperity in their countries. It is going to be a fundamental change.””

But it doesn’t look as if anyone’s shifting very much. If Prezza goes with the consensus flow at Copenhagen, and achieves a low ambition, we’ll all be toast.

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