Monday, August 13, 2007

Environmental Graffiti: 10 Quick Questions with Colin Challen, MP

Speaking of Environmental Graffiti, I thought Maria Energia readers would find this interview with Colin Challen, a member of parliament (MP) who sits on the Environmental Audit Committee’s board and the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group, interesting.

The UK is grappling with many of the same policy questions that we in the U.S. are dealing with: Which policy incentives will cut global warming emissions the most? How much should we cut emissions to really make a difference? How will business r

Below is a reprint (with permission) of Environmental Graffiti's interview:

As the damaging effects of the floods become clearer, a question resonates among people's minds. "Should there be legislation to tackle climate change?"

Today the Environmental Audit Committee's Report, 'Beyond Stern: From the Climate Change Programme Review to the Draft Climate Change Bill' was published, so we t
hought we'd like probe it a bit more and get it from the "horse's mouth", so to speak.

Colin Challen MP sits on the Environmental Audit Committee's board and is the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group. He has been the Labour MP for Morley and Rothwell since 2001 and has been described as the Labour Party's 'lead green thinker'. So we thought we'd ask him a few questions...
Why do we need legislation to act against Climate Change?
To set binding targets and to give a clear indication of our direction of travel over a longer period, to provide stability in people’s expectations
What is your opinion on the current Climate Change Bill? Do the 60% reduction figures for carbon emissions by 2050 go far enough?
60% in my view is not enough – what the bill needs to do is state the formula at which we arrive at the correct target so that everyone can see what our methodology is – Contraction and Convergence is the framework that makes sense.
If the 26-32% reduction figures of carbon emissions by 2020 are legally binding and the targets are not achieved, who will face legal action? Will the tax-payer have to foot the bill?
Nobody and b) the taxpayer, either as a payer of taxes or as a consumer always pays the bill! In any case, we have to find ways of sharing the responsibility – there’s no get out of climate change free card for anybody
Is there any point having emissions targets, when countries such as China, India and the United States have not signed up to any reduction targets?
If we don’t set a lead, because of our historic responsibilities, why should we expect them to do anything? We must set an example.
Business leaders have voiced concern about the potential economic damage that emissions targets might yield. Is there a danger that big business could relocate abroad?
Energy costs are not a significant issue for most companies – the relocation of business has more to do with cheap labour.
What is your view on the government introducing enabling powers to create new trading schemes? Are these powers sufficient?
Yes, and lets use them – e.g. personal carbon trading
The Bill addresses carbon emissions in sufficient detail, but what about other greenhouse gases such as methane produced by agriculture and landfill?
All GHGs should be included.
A recent poll by Ipsos Mori of 2,032 adults found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change. What would be you approach to tackling this misconception?
We have to continually improve the science and show that the climate change models are being borne out by the evidence, sometimes the models were too cautious.
Should there be more tax incentives to go green?
Yes, every kind of incentive should be used, paid for by taxes on polluting behaviour, rewarding non-polluting behaviour.
Is nuclear power the solution to our energy needs?


Anonymous said...

Colin Challen is chairman of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change [APPGCC].

He mentions Contraction and Convergence.

A DVD commissioned by the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change presenting Contraction and Convergence has been distributed to all UK MPs and Peers. It is endorsed by numerous eminent spokespersons who are interviewed at length on the DVD.

Copies of the DVD can be obtained by written request to GCI aubrey.meyer [at]

Alternatively, as a large file [overnight download] interview material is retrievable at this link: -

The DVD also includes a heuristic animation of Contraction and Convergence for a risk analysis of different rates of sink-failure endorsed by prominent industry persons. This is a large file [overnight download] and is retrievable at this link:

A context animation the arguments, presented at the Royal Institute of British Architects [RIBA] international conference in Venice last October, is here: - or
[Note: - touch buttons to advances *within* scenes and touch logos to advance *between* scenes].

GCI’s definition statement for C&C is here: -

General referencing for the C&C provenance is here: -

A concept/context map of C&C comparing three rates of change for

[a] Contraction and Concentrations
[b] Contraction and Convergence
[c] Benefits of Growth versus Damages from Climate
[d] Contraction and Conversion

is here: -

Some promotional material is here: -

Maria Surma Manka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria Surma Manka said...

Anon - Don't post lengthy comments advertising your website. Contact me directly if you want to do a sales pitch, thanks.