Update: our executive director John Sauven has written on why Gordon Brown's reluctance to embrace the economic and environmental potential of renewable energy technology is costing us time, money and could eventually cost us the climate here.
British prime ministers have a longstanding tradition of taking on the less savoury characteristics of their US counterparts pretty soon after coming to office. For Blair, it was a propensity towards using weapons of mass destruction. For Brown, it's trying to scupper vital climate change deals.
On the same day that scientists have shown that carbon emissions are accumulating far more quickly than predicted, leaked documents reveal that Labour wants to work with the nuclear-obsessed French and the climate-sceptic Polish presidents to undermine a vital European deal on renewable energy. The deal - to generate 20 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 - was only finalised by European leaders including Tony Blair earlier this year.
The government actually accepts that we can meet the 20 per cent target. It also admits, in the leaked papers, that scuppering it will be "very hard to negotiate ... very controversial" and will lead to "a potentially significant cost in terms of reduced climate change leadership".
They're not wrong. Germany especially is likely to resist any attempts to dilute the target; Germany already produces eight per cent of its energy from renewable sources (compared to our two per cent), creating a tidy quarter of a million jobs in the renewables industry into the bargain.
So why do it? Because it perversely sees renewables as a threat to its plans for new nuclear power stations and to the growth of a carbon trading market in London's financial quarter. From The Guardian:
One of the main objections of government to meeting the renewables target set by Mr Blair is that it will undermine the role of the European emission trading scheme. This scheme was devised by the Treasury under Mr Brown and allows wealthy governments to pay others to reduce emissions. "[Meeting the 20% renewables target] crucially undermines the scheme's credibility ... and reduces the incentives to invest in other carbon technologies like nuclear power", say the papers.
The government is clearly worried about its ambition to introduce more nuclear power as soon as possible. Mr Hutton will tell Mr Brown that he expects a second legal challenge by Greenpeace. "[It is] most likely to be on the basis of pre-judgement, concerns about waste, a flawed consultation process or inaccuracies."