May 29, 2005

Man bites dog

When I was a newspaper reporter, that imginary headline was newsroom shorthand for any item that ran counter to conventional expectations, such as this BBC story.

Although the Confederation of British Industry has lobbied against CO2 emissions cuts with the usual argument that they would "hurt business," a another group of corporate leaders has asked the government to put those very policies in place, so that they can invest accordingly.

But in their letter the business leaders say they believe emissions cuts of 60% can be achieved in the UK without damaging competitiveness if firms use energy more wisely and harness new technology.

They believe measures to hold CO2 emissions to a safe level would reduce economic growth by no more than 2% by 2050.

They say bold policy action could actually boost Britain's profits by making the UK a world leader in low carbon technology.

By saying "please regulate us," they are keeping the playing field level. No one would have feel that they were giving up a competitive advantage by reducing emissions, and they could plan ahead now instead of being clobbered later by some emergency measures.

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