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Bourne: First Minister 'irresponsible' comments on climate change

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I will start with your comments yesterday. Not since your failure to appear at the D-day landing celebration have we been more ill-served by you as First Minister. In fact, in many ways, this is more serious.

To remind you, you said last night that global warming is hardly unhelpful to Wales. That is dangerous, irresponsible and antediluvian. In fact, it is in line with some of the more extreme thinking in the USA.

You went on to say that it will give us a competitive edge over other parts of Britain, as if, somehow, global warming will stop at Offa's Dyke. It reminded me of those nuclear-free zone signs, saying 'You are now entering a nuclear-free area'. That was irresponsible.

Whatever your intent, the words that you used last night and the way that they have been reported has given rise to the view that you, as First Minister, your Government and Wales, do not care about global warming.

The first comment, that global warming is hardly unhelpful, is Ethelred the Unready, the second comment, on the competitive edge over other parts of Britain, is King Canute.

I do not know which you regard as the more flattering comparison. However, it does not serve us well. My criticism is not that you are failing to give a lead—you gave a lead last night—it is that you are giving the wrong lead.

Let us come on to some of the specifics. You are hostile to an annual target—I pressed you on this previously in November 2006, when you were a little more hostile than you are now, so there has been some movement.

However, it is important that we have an annual target for the nation of Wales. If people in Wales are going to be expected to deliver something—and they should be, for we all have a part to play—you must be able to monitor that.

We have to be able to see what progress is being made, and setting some far-off target for 2050, on a UK basis, is not helpful, because we will not be able to see how close we are getting to achieving those targets. That is the first point.

Secondly, you did not answer the point raised by Ieuan Wyn Jones on transport by freight rather than by road. That is important, so what are we doing on that? Are we committed to carbon-neutral public buildings? What are we doing on that? What is your view of the devolution of building regulations, so that we can move towards having new houses that are carbon neutral? What are we doing in terms of encouraging car sharing among public servants? What are we doing about free car parks, which we all enjoy, admittedly, but which, if we are serious about these issues, must be addressed? What are you doing as a Government about trying to influence the debate at Westminster on rebalancing the tax system, so that we are moving towards taxing carbon activity and away from other taxes?

I welcome the tree planting, as far as it goes, but I can imagine you scoffing if this had been a statement made in the US.

It is fine, but it is tokenism; it is a useful token, one that sends out the right message, but we need to be doing far more. If we are serious about cutting back on air travel, will you commit yourself, and will you influence Peter Hain, to drop the idea of the north-south air link?

That is something that we could very easily do to send out a positive message about the fact that we are serious about this.

In terms of joined-up Government, let us look at some of the things that you are doing, as a Government, that really have an impact.

Why do we not have an environmental impact statement on how we could improve things by encouraging the use of local food and reducing food miles? Why do we not have an environmental impact statement on the effect of closing a local post office or of moving healthcare from smaller community hospitals to larger hospitals, which are a long way away, when there is no public transport?

In short, the statement is fine on words, but you asked to be judged on action and there is precious little of that. I happily concede that your statement today is much more statesmanlike and constructive than last night's, but the words used in that statement, unless they were totally misreported—perhaps you can give us a guide on that—sent out completely the wrong message on this most crucial of issues."

"Dechreuaf gyda'ch sylwadau ddoe. Nid ydym, ers eich absenoldeb o ddathliadau Glanio Dydd D wedi cael ein gwasanaethu cyn waeled gennych fel Prif Weinidog Cymru. Yn wir, mewn sawl ffordd, mae hyn yn fwy difrifol.

I'ch atgoffa, dywedasoch neithiwr mai prin fod y cynhesu byd-eang yn ddi-fudd i Gymru. Mae hyn yn beryglus, yn anghyfrifol ac yn hen ffasiwn. Yn wir, mae'n unol â rhai o'r syniadaeth fwy eithafol yn yr Unol Daleithiau.

Aethoch ymlaen i ddweud y bydd yn rhoi inni fantais gystadleuol dros rannau eraill o Brydain, fel petai'r cynhesu byd-eang, rhyw ffordd, yn stopio wrth Glawdd Offa. Yr oedd yn fy atgoffa o'r arwyddion hynny am barthau di-niwclear 'Yr ydych yn awr mewn ardal ddi-niwclear'.

Yr oedd hynny yn anghyfrifol. Beth bynnag oedd eich bwriad, mae'r geiriau a ddefnyddiasoch neithiwr a'r modd yr adroddwyd amdanynt wedi esgor ar y farn nad ydych chi, fel Prif Weinidog, eich Llywodraeth na Chymru, yn poeni am gynhesu byd-eang.

Ethelred y Digyngor yw'r sylw cyntaf, sef prin fod y cynhesu byd-eang yn ddi-fudd i Gymru, a Brenin Caniwt yw'r ail sylw, am fantais gystadleuol dros rannau eraill o Brydain. Ni wn pa un y credwch yw'r gymhariaeth fwyaf clodforus. Fodd bynnag, mae'n gwneud tro gwael â ni. Fy meirniadaeth yw nad ydych yn methu â rhoi arweiniad—rhoesoch arweiniad neithiwr—ond eich bod yn rhoi'r arweiniad anghywir.

Gadewch inni symud ymlaen at rai o'r manylion. Yr ydych yn gwrthwynebu targed blynyddol—fe'ch gwthiais ynghylch hyn yn flaenorol yn Nhachwedd 2006, pan oeddech ychydig yn fwy gwrthwynebus nag yr ydych yn awr, felly bu rhyw gymaint o symudiad.

Fodd bynnag, mae'n bwysig fod gennym darged blynyddol ar gyfer Cymru fel gwlad. Os bydd disgwyl i bobl yng Nghymru gyflawni rhywbeth—a dylid bod, gan fod gennym oll ran i'w chwarae—rhaid ichi allu monitro hynny. Rhaid inni allu gweld pa gynnydd a wneir, ac nid yw'n ddefnyddiol gosod targed pell ar gyfer 2050, i'r DU gyfan, oherwydd ni fyddwn yn gallu gweld pa mor agos yr ydym at gyrraedd y targedau hynny. Dyma'r pwynt cyntaf.

Yn ail, ni atebasoch y pwynt a gododd Ieuan Wyn Jones am gludo ar y rheilffyrdd yn hytrach nag ar y ffyrdd. Mae hyn yn bwysig, felly beth yr ydym yn ei wneud ynghylch hyn? A ydym wedi ymrwymo i adeiladau cyhoeddus carbon-niwtral? Beth yr ydym yn ei wneud ynghylch hyn? Beth yw eich barn am ddatganoli rheoliadau adeiladu, fel y gallwn symud tuag at gael tai newydd sy'n garbon-niwtral? Beth yr ydym yn ei wneud ynghylch annog gweision sifil i rannu ceir? Beth yr ydym yn ei wneud ynghylch meysydd parcio am ddim, rhywbeth yr ydym oll yn ei fwynhau, cyfaddefaf, ond mae'n rhywbeth, os ydym o ddifrif am y materion hyn, y mae'n rhaid rhoi sylw iddo? Beth yr ydych yn ei wneud fel Llywodraeth ynghylch ceisio dylanwadu ar y ddadl yn San Steffan am ailgytbwyso'r system dreth, fel ein bod yn symud tuag at drethu gweithgaredd carbon ac oddi wrth dreth o fath arall?

Croesawaf y plannu coed, cyn belled ag yr aiff, ond gallaf eich dychmygu yn gwawdio pe bai hwn wedi bod yn ddatganiad a wnaed yn yr Unol Daleithiau. Mae'n iawn, ond symbolaeth ydyw; mae'n symbol defnyddiol, yn un sy'n cyfleu'r negeseuon cywir, ond rhaid inni fod yn gwneud llawer yn rhagor. Os ydym o ddifrif ynghylch lleihau teithiau awyr, a wnewch ymrwymo, ac a wnewch ddylanwadu ar Peter Hain, i anghofio'r syniad am y cyswllt awyr rhwng y gogledd a'r de? Mae hyn yn rhywbeth y gallem ei wneud yn hawdd iawn er mwyn cyfleu neges gadarnhaol am y ffaith ein bod o ddifrif ynghylch hyn.

O safbwynt Llywodraeth gydgysylltiedig, gadewch inni edrych ar rai o'r pethau yr ydych yn eu gwneud, fel Llywodraeth, sy'n cael effaith wirioneddol. Pam nad oes gennym ddatganiad o'r effaith ar yr amgylchedd o safbwynt sut y gallem wella pethau drwy annog y defnydd o fwyd lleol a gostwng milltiroedd bwyd?

Pam nad oes gennym ddatganiad o'r effaith ar yr amgylchedd o safbwynt effaith cau swyddfa bost leol neu symud gofal iechyd o ysbytai cymunedol llai i ysbytai mwy, sydd gryn bellter i ffwrdd, pan na cheir trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus? Yn fyr, mae'r datganiad yn iawn o ran geiriau, ond gofynasoch am gael eich barnu am weithredoedd ac mae'r rheini'n brin iawn.

Yr wyf yn fodlon cyfaddef bod eich datganiad heddiw yn llawer mwy doeth ac adeiladol nag un neithiwr, ond yr oedd y geiriau a ddefnyddiwyd yn y datganiad hwnnw, oni bai yr adroddwyd amdanynt yn gwbl ar gam—efallai y gallech roi arweiniad i ni am hyn—yn cyfleu'r neges gwbl anghywir am y mater holl bwysig hwn."

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