LONDON, United Kingdom — Greenpeace accused Tony Blair of a 'betrayal' after leaked documents revealed the Prime Minister was boasting about global warming commitments in keynote speeches while his government was simultaneously trying to ditch them at European meetings.
The documents, which can be downloaded here, show that the
British government attempted to remove a commitment for huge cuts
in greenhouse gases by 2050 from an EU council document setting out
European climate policy.
Mr Blair has made no secret of his desire to get the US to join
a climate agreement while he holds the EU and G8 presidencies. But
rather than trying to strengthen the American position, today's
revelations reveal Mr Blair has instead been trying to weaken the
progressive European position.
The documents reveal that the British government tried to have
the 2050 commitments deleted from the key European text at meetings
between September and December 2004. At the same time the Prime
Minister was making a series of speeches and comments urging action
on global warming, including calling for the same sweeping
long-term emissions cuts that his representatives were trying to
ditch in Brussels.
Tindale, Executive Director of Greenpeace, said:
"Blair is selling-out on one of his two great international
themes in an effort to appease his friend in the White House. He
thinks that getting the US to sign-up at any cost can be spun as an
historic achievement, but it's classic Blair - appearance trumping
substance. He's undermining the progressive position of the EU and
reneging on promises he simultaneously boasts about. This is a
betrayal of trust on an issue he claims to be passionate about.
Just as over Iraq, his behaviour towards Bush is so craven it would
make a lapdog blush."
The Prime Minister has said that development and climate change
will be at the centre of his foreign policy agenda this year. In a
much-trailed September speech he said timely action to cut C02
emissions is essential to 'avert disaster.' Greenpeace supported
the government's climate policy until November 2004, when the
organisation concluded that Mr Blair was no longer sufficiently
committed to cutting domestic emissions. Now his credibility on
international action is seriously compromised.
Stephen Tindale continued:
"Any agreement signed by Bush wouldn't be worth the paper it was
written on. Instead of kow-towing to the flat-earthers in the White
House, the British government should be leading European action and
forging alliances with major players like India, China and Brazil,
and with the increasing number of US states which are implementing
progressive climate policies. As it is, Britain is once again
dancing to a White House tune."
Referring to the commitment to slash CO2 emissions by 2050 the
Prime Minister said in his September speech: "We are committed to
this change." And yet his government was simultaneously trying to
ditch the commitment in Europe.
Download the leaked document as a pdf here.
Effort to ditch commitments are detailed in footnotes 5 and 8 of