We have already seen that British Conservatives “get” global warming — both the danger of inaction and the economic opportunity of a “green revolution.”
Sarkozy made the greening of France a major plank of his election campaign this year. He has since created a superministry for ecology, biodiversity and sustainable development, with responsibility for the powerful sectors of transport, energy and construction — a first in France, where ecology was previously off the political radar.
Yet it seems inconceivable a U.S. conservative politician could take such action, or agree to the following remarkable proposals now under active consideration in France:
- All newly built homes to produce more energy than they consume by 2020. Renovate all existing buildings to save energy. Ban incandescent light bulbs by 2010. Reduce greenhouse-gas emission by 20% by 2020.
- Increase renewable energy from 9% to 20-25% of total energy consumption by 2020.
- Bring transport emissions back to 1990 levels. Reduce vehicle speed limits by 10 kilometres per hour. Taxes and incentives to favour clean cars. Shift half of haulage by road to rail and water within 15 years. Develop rail and public transport.
- Reduce air pollutants quantitatively.
- Create a national network of “green” corridors and nature reserves.
- Increase organic farming from 2% to 6% of total acreage production by 2010 and to 20% by 2020.
- Ecological groups to be stakeholders, like trade unions, in government negotiations.
- Create a body to review planting of genetically modified crops on a case-by-case basis.
Tip o’ the hat to Earl Killian for pointing this story out to me.