Can you say 'mixed messages'?

Confused fat cat

It must be hard being a fat cat now that climate change is taken seriously. Gone are the days of ignoring 'the loony left' and their 'peer-reviewed science'; in the aftermath of Kyoto and Stern, everyone - Gordon Brown included - is keen to be seen to be green.

This puts organisations like the CBI (motto: "the voice of business") in a quandary. On the one hand, they're firmly wedded to Adam Smith and his ignorance of externalities (for which read: growth at all costs), on the other they're facing considerable consumer pressure to start doing something about rising CO2 emissions.

Ever the strong leaders, they've put out a report, detailing the myriad ways businesses have leapt to the challenge of lowering their emissions. The report makes absolutely clear that the next few years "will be critical. A much greater sense of urgency is required if the UK is to meet its targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at an affordable cost, and to establish an international leadership role in the low-carbon economy of the future. Failure to act now will mean that the costs of tackling climate change in the future will be much higher".

Sounds great - except that, as Friends of the Earth pointed out "This change in rhetoric and thinking... must be measured against real-life action and a change in the CBI's position on the ground and the activities of its members." You see, the CBI is also rather keen on nuclear power and expanding Heathrow - despite only 22% of London businesses supporting it.

Former CBI head Digby Jones is a bit close to GB, and has declared publicly that he'll take every opportunity to lobby the PM for another runway. He was also chair of incompetent lobby group Flying Matters - until he stepped down to join the Brown Cabinet. Hardly the budding environmentalist.

It's time for UK plc to take sides. Either they believe in climate change, and want to help us take action to prevent it - in which case they can't possibly support a third runway - or they don't, in which case they can join their former friends in Exxon-funded lobby groups and 'flat earth' clime sceptics. This 'half and half' pretence isn't helping anyone, and is just making it harder for Government to carry out the desperately needed action they've been promising for so long.