U.K. greens grin as climate bill unveiled in annual “queen’s speech”

We thought wigs and rowdiness were the most delightful customs in the British Parliament, but it turns out there’s another: the annual “queen’s speech.” This opening-day tradition offers a chance to boast about the things Parliament will accomplish in the coming session. And this week, greens got all atwitter when Queen Elizabeth’s promises included a climate-change bill. (The speech also noted such modest ambitions as reforming welfare, modernizing health care, and pursuing peace in the Middle East, but who are we to quibble with the queen?) The climate bill will, says Environment Minister David Miliband, formalize the long-term goal of cutting emissions 60 percent by 2050 and establish a carbon committee for oversight. Huzzah! But gleeful observers did note the lack of commitment to binding annual targets — an approach Miliband, who favors five-year goals, has called “silly.” With nearly two-thirds of Parliament members in favor of annual targets, we smell rowdiness around the corner.