The day before Tony Blair addresses a key scientific conference on climate change in New Zealand, the British government has finally admitted what many long suspected, that – wait for it – it will fail to meet its often repeated manifesto commitment on cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

In three different election manifesto commitments, Labour set a target of reducing CO2 levels by 20% by 2010, but today, the UK’s  Environment Secretary, will say it is no longer possible. This admission of failure totally undermines Tony Blair’s claim to be a world leader on climate change. Only yesterday Beckett was still trying to claim that Britain could meet its 20% cut.

When the much delayed climate change review is published today, Beckett will say the government believes the UK can achieve only a cut of between 15% and 18% of the 1990 UK emissions.

So how about some real action for a change: Blair should have not flown to the other side of the world to talk about climate change. He could have saved the CO2 emissions by staying at home and starting to actually tackle climate change rather than talking about the need to tackle it. There is a subtle difference between the two that even a politician like him should understand.