6. He made climate change a world issue
Tony Blair regularly made the claim that "Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing our planet today”. But what did he actually do about this? It was, he claimed ne of the great benefits of his special relationship with George Bush that he could influence American policy and bring them on board for Kyoto. This never happened. While early noises were positive nothing came of this. In fact its possible to chart the influence the other way from the US onto the UK policy. In 2005 he said (on 15 September at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York) : “I’m changing my thinking about this.” Adding: “no country is going to cut its growth or consumption substantially in the light of a long-term environmental problem”; instead, what countries would be prepared to do is “develop the science and technology in a beneficial way.” The main question, Blair argued, was how to put incentives in place to do that, in circumstances where “I don’t think people are going to start negotiating another major treaty like Kyoto.” This is one of his most lauded victories and is in reality one of his greatest failures. Like his recent rejection of taking seriously his carbon footprint by curtailing his flying, Blair is strong on rhetoric and pitifully weak in practice.
"I personally think these things are a bit impractical, actually to expect people to do that," Mr Blair told Sky News in January. "It's like telling people you shouldn't drive anywhere."
Great post from the Scottish ecosocialist tinged bloggers at 1820.