Year 2, Month 5, Day 28: Great. Really Great.

Great Britain does the right thing:

BRUSSELS — Britain is poised to announce some of the world’s most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions — a striking example of a government committing to big environmental initiatives while also pursuing austerity measures.

Chris Huhne, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, is expected to release a statement on Tuesday that the British government will set in law a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions about 50 percent by 2025.

That reduction, based on 1990 levels, would be far deeper than the European Union’s goal of cutting emissions 20 percent by 2020, and it would mean that Britain would make faster emissions cuts than other similar size countries, including Germany. The goal could require households to spend on new energy-saving devices for the home. It could also revive stalled government support for large projects, like those that capture power from tides and that bury carbon dioxide emissions.

Sent on May 16:

What a pleasure it is to read about a governmental response to climate change that takes the threat seriously enough, although it’s too bad that the government in question isn’t our own. Britain’s laudable program for phasing out greenhouse emissions shows that there are still a few places in the world where politicians don’t ignore scientific expertise as a matter of policy. In the US, alas, an anti-reality party controls half of Congress, effectively paralyzing us when it comes to climate issues. If global warming’s effects were simply props for the usual political theater, it wouldn’t really matter — but given that they’re increasingly likely to include what biologists delicately call an “evolutionary bottleneck” for our own species as well as countless others, isn’t it time for American politicians to emulate Britain, and get down to the serious work of changing our national energy economy once and for all?

Warren Senders

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