THE British government unveiled two climate change initiatives yesterday and both had the merit of putting the ordinary citizen in the front line of the fight against global warming. Tony Blair called a meeting at Downing Street of the chief executives of some of the UK's biggest high street traders to discuss what they could do to help shoppers make decisions that will reduce the carbon emissions that lead to global warming that leads to climate change. Until now climate change has been a rather remote subject for scientists, politicians and industrialists to discuss. Mr Blair's idea, if it works, will make all consumers aware of the role they can play in limiting carbon emissions. Present at the Downing Street meeting were the chief executives of Tesco, Starbucks and Marks & Spencer and in addition the BBC's director general Mark Thompson and BSkyB's chief executive James Murdoch had been invited. This was a preliminary gathering for a major campaign due to be launched next March. Yesterday's second initiative came from the Environment Minister David Milliband and proved to be even more ambitious than his prime minister's scheme. Mr Milliband believes that under a carbon rationing scheme every citizen could be issued with a carbon ”credit card” which would be swiped each time they bought petrol, paid a utility bill or booked a flight. The idea is mind–boggling and will be heavily criticised but the minister's response is that ”bold thinking is required because the world is in a dangerous state.”


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