Yesterday the government delivered its long awaited response to the consultation period on the draft climate change bill.
It may have disappointed some environmentalists, but business leaders were on the most part welcoming towards the new proposals, despite environment secretary Hilary Benn's clear indication that the bill is to be toughened up.
Under the latest proposals, the bill the independent committee on climate change will be given the power to publish its recommendations to government and force it to adhere to its guidance or publicly explain why it has been rejected. It is one of those rare pieces of legislation that brings with it almost inevitable embarrassment and condemnation, not to mention potential legal action, for politicians.
Moreover, it now seems increasingly likely that the bill will include more stringent targets of 80 per cent emission cuts by 2050 and could even spark one almighty international legal conflagration by forcing the aviation and shipping industries to be included in the targets.
As if that wasn't enough the government also hinted it would toughen up its biofuel legislation to ensure biofuels are coming from sustainable sources and confirmed that thousands of organisations, including banks, hotels, supermarkets, government departments and local authority buildings, will be included in a new emissions trading scheme, potentially increasing their costs but also providing them with the opportunity to generate income by cutting emissions.
That councils have been given the power to pilot pay-as-you-throw waste management schemes.
Cue countless emails from outraged of Tunbridge Wells about rotting rubbish and council tax bills, not to mention Kate Silverton asking a slightly bemused Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth why the government kept changing its position on pay-as-you-throw, when there were reports last week that while the government was to shelve national plans it was considering still giving councils the chance to pursue the strategy.
There is, of course, a legitimate debate to be had about the merits or otherwise of pay-as-you-throw, as well as polluter pays schemes in general (although it is a debate not helped by the government's failure to reassure people that such schemes could and should save most people money). But how on earth can this be the biggest piece of news to come out of the revised climate change bill?
As regular readers will know I am no fan of the government's climate change policy, or complete lack thereof, but you still have to feel a little sorry for them when they do announce something genuinely world-leading and innovative, show willing to toughen up legislation in line with the latest science, and then see the whole thing overshadowed by some nimbys moaning about their bins.
Given the BBC News seems to spend every week reporting on either the government's lack of action on climate change or how people aren't really aware of the bigger issues surrounding global warming, it really should be taking a more detailed look at a piece of major legislation that has the potential to dominate the way we live and do business for years to come.
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