London rains on G8 parade.
Conflicting signals coming out of London, as an announcement from the capital seemingly flies in the face of today's G8 announcement on Carbon emissions:
Pledging to “move toward a low-carbon society,” leaders of the world’s richest nations today endorsed the idea of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050, but did not specify whether the starting point would be current levels or 1990 levels, and refused to set a short-term target for reducing the gases that scientists agree are warming the planet.
European leaders, who have long pressed President Bush to adopt a more aggressive stance on climate change, said they were pleased with the agreement, which is nonbinding. They cast it as an important step toward laying the groundwork for a binding international treaty, to be negotiated in Copenhagen in 2009 under the auspices of the United Nations.
It would appear that, for all the talk of the Copenhagen agreement, "non-binding" is very much the order of the day.
Congestion and traffic pollution is key campaign issue in London politics. In his election manifesto the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, pledged to scrap a proposed £25 increase in the congestion charge. Former mayor Ken Livingstone had planned to raise the daily levy from £8 to £25 from October.
Under Mr Livingstone's plans, cars emitting high levels of CO2 would have paid £25 to enter the zone whereas cars with the lowest emissions were to get a 100% discount on the charge.
The mayor has also scrapped this second proposal, stating "I believe the proposal would actually have made congestion worse by allowing thousands of small cars in for free."
But Mr Livingstone said the decision was "a further blow to London as a ground-breaking city to tackle climate change and improve the environment". He added that rather than saving money "London will lose £30-£60m expected annual revenue from the scheme".
And Jenny Jones, from London's Green Party, said: "The London mayor has put the interest of the few above the needs of the planet. We know that green taxes work. Last year, Londoners bought more low emission cars than gas guzzlers for the first time ever."