A top UN official has warned that urgent action is required to avoid the “catastrophic effects” of climate change ahead of important negotiations taking place in Bangkok. After heatwaves and extreme weather swept the world this summer, there is hope among climate experts that leaders will be galvanised to act. Patricia Espinosa, head of the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said governments are not doing enough to meet their climate targets. Specifically she said they are unlikely to hit the ambitious goal of the Paris climate agreement to cap temperature increases not only below 2C, but closer to 1.5C.
Independent 2nd Sept 2018 read more »
Ministers are “deliberately weakening” the green watchdog that will hold the government to account after Britain leaves the EU, according to Labour’s shadow Brexit minister. Theresa May pledged last January to create a “world-leading, independent, statutory body” to ensure ministers stick to their commitments – replacing the power of the European commission to take governments to the European court of justice (ECJ) for not fulfilling their obligations. Yet the UK watchdog will not have any powers relating to climate change, an issue of heightened public concern since the summer heatwave that has seen wildfires in the north of England and outbreaks of tropical diseases in parts of Europe. Matthew Pennycook, Labour’s Brexit spokesman, said: “Our EU membership has been key to delivering and enforcing UK emission reductions. In choosing to exclude climate change from the remit of their environmental watchdog, ministers are deliberately weakening the tools we have to hold them to account. The Brexit process cannot be used as a cover to water down the UK’s leadership on climate change.” Greener UK, which represents 13 of the UK’s biggest environmental organisations including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the RSPB and the National Trust , said it is very concerned about the omission of climate policy from the watchdog’s remit. About 55% of the UK’s planned carbon reductions are tied to regulations derived from the EU and would have been enforced by the European commission.
Observer 2nd Sept 2018 read more »