I said yesterday that there had been wide-ranging approval for the decision to go for net-zero carbon [N-ZC] in the UK by 2050. This is not universally the case, however, and a number of points have emerged.
The first is that the move has been made by an Order in Council, which is a practice that harks back to Tudor monarch times when our embryonic parliament was routinely sidelined by action in the Privy Council. All this continues today. In essence, there is to be no parliamentary scrutiny or possibility of amendment of this decision and it will not be enshrined (and hence protected) in primary legislation.* The government (or was that the prime minister?) simply decided and then told parliament about it. This will make the UK the first member of the G7 to go for N-ZC. Some say this urge to be first explains the reluctance to use the time-consuming primary legislation route. Surely not. Others say that it's the PM who wants the credit rather than her successor. Such cynics.
The second is that the plan allows the UK to achieve the goal through the use of international carbon credits through which the UK can pay for cuts elsewhere in lieu of domestic emissions. This is like off-setting your egregious carbon splurging, and Greenpeace said this would shift the burden to developing nations. The 2050 date was recommended by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), but its chair said it was important that such credits were not used. The Times quotes Doug Parr, the chief scientist for Greenpeace UK, as saying that allowing international carbon credits would need to be unpicked: