Three days after the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, much of the media coverage of the tragedy is now focusing on the possible causes. A wide range of possible contributory factors has been cited – lack of sprinklers, lack of adequate fire escapes, no central fire alarms, etc. But there has been much speculation that the cladding, added to the building during a recent refurbishment, could have helped the fire to spread rapidly up the exterior of the building. A number of newspapers have focused their investigations on possible cost-cutting during the renovation, as well as prior warnings by residents that safety standards were being ignored. For example, the Times today has a frontpage story highlighting that “contractors could have acquired the fire-resistant version [of the cladding used] for less than £5,000 extra”. The refurbishment of the building cost £8.6m. However, the Daily Mail is making its own claim. On its frontpage it says there are “three lethal questions” that need answering; the first of which is: “Were green targets to blame for the fire tragedy?” It adds that “experts”, which the paper doesn’t name, are asking whether the cladding was “installed simply to meet environmental targets”. On page eight is a full-page commentary from Ross Clark, sitting under the headline question: “So did an obsession with green targets lead to inferno?” Clark, who has published various climate sceptic articles and written a book attacking regulations he believes to be “strangling” the UK, begins the article: Stringent government targets to slash greenhouse gas emissions were behind the decision to clad the Grenfell Tower, official documents show. The local council, Kensington and Chelsea, said ‘the energy efficiency refurbishment’ of the tower last year was a key part of plans to cut carbon emissions.
Carbon Brief 16th June 2017 read more »