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Discussion > Is Cameron Breaking The Code Of Conduct?

One of the duties of all Members of Parliament is:

6. Members have a general duty to act in the interests of the nation as a whole; and a special duty to their constituents.

David Cameron chaired a UN committee that was charged with overseeing the creation of new sustainability targets to replace the expired targets set at Kyoto. Reducing CO2 emissions is part of sustainability.

A new target that Cameron supervised was:

Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

As always this seems to be a reasonable, even enlightened attitude, until you think about it a little.

Is there ANY resource on the planet that will not one day be needed by future generations?
For how many years do we expect the human race to survive?
Who decides what resources future generations will need most urgently?

Does this target not conflict with his duty to today's UK population?

Nov 14, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Dung, the sustainability logic often comes straight out of a Dilbert cartoon. Most people have come across some example of the you-can't-have-it-now-because-you-might-need-it-later-even-though-you-need-it-now mentality.

A friend once recounted his experience in a University Theatre Studies department: He needed a replacement part for a stage camera. The stores held two such spare parts (and a third one who was the quartermaster), but the quartermaster refused to release even one. He said that he always held one exclusively-spare in case the head of the department might suddenly want one in an emergency. The head of the department would, of course, not normally have any need to be operating a stage camera. He also refused to release the other one because "then I wouldn't have a spare for ordinary purposes".

When confronted by similar logic of such a calibre, I recall the original Dilbert correspondent sardonically commented
"I realised I was beaten by a better man."

Nov 14, 2015 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

My car really needed to have two spare tyres so, when I used one to swap with a punctured tyre, I could still drive off with a legal spare available. (Problem solved by having no spare tyres but having a tube of special glue to plug the hole, but I need two tubes!)

Good job we saved all those stones at the end of the Stone Age: never know when we might need them again. (That used to be funny.)

I used to have a lucky sixpence until, one day, I was stranded, a sixpenny bus ride away from 'home'. How I miss my lucky sixpence, but I did get home, unscathed!

As we don't know what new technology will be available in the future, can we 'consume' anything?

The new target makes the assumption that new technology will not occur, using new resources. How can yet undiscovered technology be assessed, like mega-batteries to store all that wind generated electricity, or known when it will be discovered?

Inhibiting the wealth creating activities of today, to comply with the new target, will reduce the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, if only because it would necessary to suppress leadership, innovation and skills in managing risk. But would Cameron understand that?

Doesn't this new target place 'celebrities feeling good' and virtue signalling higher than good husbandry of resources and good accountancy that can be seen, audited and verified without question against widely accepted standards? Something else that Cameron and DECC ministers probably don't understand.

Nov 14, 2015 at 11:59 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I am reminded of the (proverbial?) village shopkeeper, who, when asked for a popular item said "Oh, I don't stock that any more, I was always running out".


Nov 15, 2015 at 1:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ratliffe