In his first speech on the environment since becoming UK prime minister, Gordon Brown recently committed the country to at least a 60% cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 – the first country in the world to enshrine this in law.
The scientists and environmentalists allowed themselves a small smile. This is what they had been after for years.
This is best achieved through a market-based approach through a cap-and-trade scheme, Brown went on. “Only hard caps can create the necessary framework for a global carbon market to flourish.” But afterwards business leaders and policy advisors repeatedly told him that such a cut might actually require additional carbon taxes, that cap-and-trade could never achieve the required reductions fast enough.