Governments ruffled by climate kerfuffles in England, Australia

A couple of government climate kerfuffles have broken out: In Britain, a leaked briefing paper says the country won’t meet a European Union target of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020, and suggests lobbying other nations for a more flexible interpretation of the goal or using “statistical interpretations” to shine things up. Written for government ministers by what is now the Department for Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform, the memo says the best Britain can hope for is 9 percent by 2020, and even that would be a challenge. Officials and activists are shocked at the stance, which Rajiv Bhatia of renewable-energy distributor Alternergy calls a “betrayal of the highest order.” Meanwhile, in Australia, four members of parliament caused a furor by writing a dissenting chapter to a cross-party report on climate change, saying the science is unsettled. Public outcry forced Prime Minister John Howard, a fellow Liberal and climate hesitator himself, to disavow their comments.