Because I say so

kids love energy companieskids love energy companiesGreat Britain is leading the world in saying that it will cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. Note the words in saying that ; our own civil servants at the new DTI , forgettably named the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, say, in a leaked document, that even the EU Renewable Energy Target of 20% by 2020, that Tony Blair signed up to, is impossible. At present renewable sources provide 2% of our energy and they say that even a 9% total renewables target by 2020 is really pushing it and would cost us an extra £4 billion per year. Nonetheless, what's a few billion here or there? That's another expensive problem for Alistair Darling, who is, poor man, between a rock and a hard place.

I don't hear other politicians such as Mr. Cameron criticising this target, it would sound mean. So, the economy is to grow ever faster, there will be millions of new jobs for British workers who have been rapidly trained to a high level, formerly disaffected 'youf' will happily stay on at school politely answering questions on citizenship and emoting over climate change, and the High Streets will continue to bulge with people happily buying lots and lots of shoes and gift boxes of soap. I predict a swathe of extra quangos teaching us how to conserve energy ; thousands of people driving round telling us we should lag the boiler. Then, when we don't reach the target it won't be government's fault.

Decades ago in Scandinavia householders were getting tax reductions to insulate their houses. What happens here? Well we have Home Information Packs (HIPS) that cost hundreds of pounds and are administered by someone who's gone on a course to tick boxes. HIPS have been almost universally criticised as bureaucratic, expensive and useless. However, the government is still hanging on to the idea because, yes of course, there is an EU directive which comes into force in 2009 requiring all homes to be energy rated every ten years. HIPS contains this element. The inspectors will, theoretically, have every right to enter our homes and criticise the inadequacy of our boiler lagging. I just hope that the inspectors will be told where to get off. As someone who insulated their house many years ago, my insulation will probably be the wrong sort and I probably won't get enough ticks, that is if I let the inspector in. What then?

We have had competition in energy suppliers since privatisation. Various companies vie for custom and chase shareholders. This has led to little thought for investment in infrastructure but a lot of interest in taking subsidies to provide 'green' energy and lots of investment in advertising showing flowers and beautiful scenery. New Labour have had innumerable targets and they keep telling us that they haven't achieved them; it seems a form of masochism because few people know or care about them. This target will go the same way and there still won't be a ban on plastic bags. By the way Japan's pledged to cut emissions by 50% by 2050, tell that to the whales.