Not outstandingly green by international standards – more a sludgy grey brown. A comparison of the green content of several governments’ bail-out and stimulus packages shows South Korea devoting 80 per cent of the extra finance to green investment and activity, while China notches up 37 and the UK is at a lowly 6 per cent. The UK’s not in last place though: Italy’s green content is just 1 per cent.
Gordon Brown talks about an economic recovery that will be transformative because it’s green. The Climate Act commits the UK to reducing carbon emissions by 80 per cent by the year 2050. How do you make progress towards that target if over 90 per cent of your economic stimulus is non-green?
But the question is not only whether the UK government’s green talk is total garbage. The other governments’ statistics are not necessarily more reliable than other statistics. Like all such figures, definitions matter – how green is green, for example? The figures need a closer look before we can be sure whether the difference between the UK and other governments is wholly or partly a matter of the other governments green-spinning more effectively.