Why The UK Will Definitely Fulfill Its Climate Change Act Emissions Reduction Target For 2020

Roger Pielke Jr is skeptical about the absurd task the UK has given itself regarding a “34% target for emissions reductions below a 1990 baseline by 2020“. He’s obviously not knowledgeable enough about the ways of the British governments re:targets. Let me explain.

Many years ago somebody had the bright idea to declare a target for UK train punctuality by a certain date. Scrambling for a solution in the face of certain failure, shortly before the deadline the rail companies agreed on artificially lengthening their schedules, thereby guaranteeing they could reach the target even if in practice they had done nothing of the sort.

Then it was Mr Blair’s government’s turn to declare a target on waiting list at the NHS by a certain date. Scrambling for a solution in the face of certain failure, shortly before the deadline the NHS structures decided to operate a double waiting list system, with the “official” one designed to consistently reach the target, and the “unofficial” one a parking area for patients that were simply not counted by the target system. Everybody had therefore guaranteed they could reach the target even if in practice they had done nothing of the sort.

This practice, i.e. an extension of “creative accounting“, has permeated the whole public system in the country. Even during the Dec 31, 1999 celebrations in London, the expected “river of fire” with 60ft+ tall flames was declared a success despite having been mostly invisible to the crowds, by redefining the meaning of “river of fire“.

And yes!, this may all sound familiar to people that have read about attempts to “redefine what the peer reviewed literature is“. Of course.

Please do not be surprised therefore if, come 2020, we will be talked into believing that the “34% target for emissions reductions below a 1990 baseline by 2020” will have been achieved, regardless of what the true figures will tell.