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Cablegate: Pm Brown Announces "Marshall Plan" On Climate

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 004297

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KGHG UK
SUBJECT: PM Brown Announces "Marshall Plan" on Climate


1. (SBU) Summary: In a November 19 speech, Prime
Minister Gordon Brown reaffirmed the UK's commitment
to 60% cuts in carbon emissions by 2050 and 20% of
energy in the EU from renewable sources by 2020, and
called for a "Marshall Plan" on climate to assist
developing countries. He pledged $2.74 billion for
R&D in offshore wind, wave and tidal energy and for
bringing those technologies to market. He also
announced a competition for a coal-fired power plant
on a commercial scale with carbon capture and storage
(CCS) technology and that the EU and UK will begin a
Near Zero Emission Coal Initiative in China. Finding
the money for these plans, however, may be a problem.
End summary.

"Developed Countries Have Historic Responsibility"
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (U) Speaking two weeks before the UN Climate
Change conference begins in Bali, Brown said that
although the goal of Bali was to launch negotiations
for a post-2012 climate change agreement, the long-
term goal is to build a global low-carbon economy. He
said climate change is a challenge for this century on
a "comparable financial scale" to the post WW-II
Marshall Plan. In a separate statement on November
18, Brown said that "developed countries have historic
responsibility for causing climate change, and have
the greatest capacity for reducing emissions. So we
must show leadership and take the first and largest
responsibility."

New Clean Energy Investment Framework Under World Bank
--------------------------------------------- ---------

3. (U) Brown said the UK would work with the United
States, Japan, the G-8 and other European donors on
new funding mechanisms to assist developing countries
reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change.
The mechanisms include the World Bank-led Clean Energy
Investment Framework and the UK's $1.6 billion
Environmental Transformation Fund.

Sticking with Commitment on Renewable Energy
--------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Brown's speech was based on the Climate
Change Bill published on November 15. The bill
legally binds the UK to reducing its emissions of
carbon dioxide by a minimum of sixty percent from the
1990 benchmark by 2050. While much of Brown's speech
reiterated standard UK points on climate, one
surprising note was his re-commitment to the EU's
agreement to have 20% of its energy generated from
renewable sources by 2020. Media accounts, including
an article in the October 23 Guardian, have been
speculating for weeks that the 20% figure was
unreachable and that Brown would back off. Note: The
20% figure covers Europe as a whole, and Brown has
only committed the UK to "meeting our share," not to a
specific amount or percentage. Brown said in his
speech that the European Commission will make a
proposal in January 2008 about how the 20% figure
would be apportioned among different member states.
End note.

$2 Billion for Wind, Wave and Tidal Energy R&D
--------------------------------------------- -

5. (SBU) In his speech, Brown announced a $2 billion
public-private Energy Technologies Institute that will
focus on R&D in offshore wind energy, wave energy and
tidal energy. A separate $740 million domestic
Environmental Transformation Fund will focus on
bringing those technologies to market. Brown noted
that the new planning bill will help reduce the
obstacles to building local power, especially in

LONDON 00004297 002 OF 002


renewables. Brown referred as well to a host of other
energy efficiency programs including promotion of
building insulation, a phase-out of standard filament
light bulbs starting in 2008, and smart metering of
electricity. He also announced a competition for
building a coal-fired power plant on a commercial
scale with carbon capture and storage (CCS)
technology. In a similar vein, he said that the EU
and the UK will begin a Near Zero Emission Coal
Initiative in China. Brown was more circumspect on
nuclear, saying only that nuclear was a "potential"
energy source, "subject to the outcome of our
consultation" with the public.

6. (SBU) Comment: Brown is trying to position the UK
on the moral high ground on climate by making clear
domestic commitments, investing in technology, and
offering financial support to developing economies.
Delivering on the promises may be tough, however. On
November 17, the Guardian newspaper reported that
DEFRA, the UK's lead agency on climate change, is
facing $600 million in budget cuts to compensate for a
string of unexpected expenses resulting from floods,
foot-and-mouth disease, and other unexpected costs.

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