Joined up government

Sometimes, you just could not make it up. First item on the Radio 4 9pm news was Ed Milliband’s announcement that Britain is to up its greenhouse gas emissions target so that it will be to reduce them by 80 per cent, rather than 60 per cent, by 2050. Great stuff, a tough target and a real boost for the environment.
Second item, though, was Gordon Brown saying that the cost of petrol had to come down now that the world oil price was plummeting. Does his economic brain not stretch to the fact that the only way of ensuring that anything like the 2050 target is met is if the price of petrol is kept high so that people are forced to consider the alternatives, and crucially, it becomes viable to develop them. Or am I missing something?
There is, incidentally, the same government incoherence over house prices. The only way to attract more first time buyers is by keeping prices low and yet several of the measures proposed by the government, such as cutting stamp duty, are designed to keep prices high. Here there is a simple solution – why not put house price inflation into the Retail Price Index, so that it would no longer be regarded as a good thing.

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