Rishi Sunak accused of blocking climate change plans by refusing to commit funding for net-zero drive. The Chancellor is adamant that he has spent generously on policies which will help reduce carbon emissions in the UK. Rishi Sunak has been accused of blocking progress on tackling climate change in the wake of the landmark IPCC report which warned that the planet faces “code red” on global warming. The Chancellor is increasingly singled out as the principal obstacle to the Government’s plans for net-zero carbon emissions, with senior Conservatives and Opposition figures claiming he has refused to commit the funding needed for Britain to reach the target. Mr Sunak insists he has spent at least £12bn on the net-zero drive already – and allies accuse his critics of ignoring the need to bring the public finances under control after soaring spending during the Covid-19 pandemic. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has complained publicly that he has been blocked from publishing crucial documents such as the heat and buildings strategy, which will propose a timescale for the replacement of gas boilers. Mr Kwarteng accused the Treasury of failing to sign on to the plans. Darren Jones, the Labour MP who chairs the Commons business, energy and industrial strategy committee, told i that the Government did not have the correct machinery in place to push for net zero across Whitehall departments – but he singled out funding as the biggest outstanding issue.
iNews 11th Aug 2021 read more »
Once you understand the terrible cost of doing nothing, climate action is a bargain. Ruinous, eye-watering, crippling, stratospheric, massive. That’s the cost to the UK of beating the climate crisis, according to those who portray getting to net zero emissions as economic suicide that is being thrust on an unwilling population by posh eco-fundamentalists and zealots. This is not just wrong, it is the exact opposite of reality. The delusions come from those with histories of climate change scepticism and could be dismissed as the latest mutant variant thrown up by the death throes of denial. But they are having a real-world impact, slowing action at the precise moment acceleration is needed. So how did we get here? In 2019, the then chancellor, Phillip Hammond, wrote a letter to the prime minister claiming the cost of the UK getting to net zero would exceed £1tn. Then, in July of this year, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) estimated the investment needed for net zero by 2050 was £1.4tn. These figures are the source of the hot air. But this is only one side of the balance sheet. The other, conveniently ignored by the critics, carries huge cost savings due to more efficient vehicles and buildings, and the economic boost of many thousands of good jobs in the green industries that will be the growth story of the 21st century. And that’s just the start. Let’s put some of that into numbers. Once the fuel efficiency savings are included, the OBR’s cost estimate falls by about 75%, to 0.4% of GDP a year. The OBR also said delaying decisive climate action by a decade could double the cost to the government.
Guardian 11th Aug 2021 read more »
The cost of curbing climate change is lower than you think. We ought to able to manage the costs of climate change ‘code red’; persuading the developing world to follow will be a bigger challenge. If the IPCC is correct, and there is even less time to limit the damage than previously thought – “code red for humanity”, as the Panel called it – then governments must soon grasp the nettle with meaningful investment and tax incentives. It is no accident that the Government has still not published its own internal assessment of the costs; it is not yet ready to tell it as it is. Yet others have indeed taken a stab. The starting point for the OBR in its most recent “fiscal risks” report in assessing the likely impact on the economy and the public finances is that, assuming the science is right, the costs of failure will be hugely more than the presumed costs of doing something about it. Hard to disagree, if today’s extreme weather events are anything to go by. Even so, the OBR reckons, as does Britain’s Climate Change Committee, that with early action the costs of the transition are not as great as one might imagine. In the Bank of England’s “early action” scenario, a steadily rising carbon price is assumed that weighs on economic activity, but with GDP settling at ‘just’ 1.4pc below where it would otherwise have been. That doesn’t seem a huge price to pay. Yet in the scale of things, it’s not as big a burden as might have been feared. There are also potentially substantial offsetting economic gains in the shape of jobs and investment. None of this is to deny the political challenge of selling the costs to the public. The much bigger challenge, however, is that of persuading the rest of the world to do the same thing. Even with the IPCC’s latest horror story to concentrate minds, the developing world is not going to take gladly to the sacrifices required. In all likelihood, we’ll end up having to pay for a large part of their costs on top of our own.
Telegraph 10th Aug 2021 read more »
The UK’s low carbon economy is now worth more than £200bn, four times the size of the country’s manufacturing sector, with growth expected to accelerate in the coming years, according to new analysis. Despite what experts say has been lacklustre and patchy support from central government, the analysis found more than 75,000 businesses from wind turbine manufacturers to recycling plants employ more than 1.2 million people in the green economy. Experts say the sector not only has the potential to help tackle the climate crisis but also create sustainable jobs and improve people’s quality of life – with cleaner transport, reduced air pollution and better insulated homes. But they warn that if the UK is to make the necessary rapid and fair transition to a low carbon economy, the government must mobilise all sections of society – from trade unions to local authorities, community groups to businesses – behind a “national programme of transformation”.
Guardian 10th Aug 2021 read more »
Taxing carbon is one of the most straightforward ways to get companies and consumers to make greener choices. Tax fossil fuels like petrol, and people will be more willing to switch to an electric car. Tax meat, and they might plump for a plant-based burger for their next meal. In practice, however, introducing new taxes on top of the UK’s haphazard carbon charging system will be difficult. Research by the UK’s Energy System Catapult reveals that right now consumers pay £109 in tax for every tonne of carbon they emit driving their cars, but just £14 per tonne of pollution from gas boilers. A carbon trading system works like a marketplace, with organisations buying credits for every tonne of carbon they emit. Those who cut their emissions can sell surplus credits to those polluting more. The UK and the EU already have this system up and running for electricity companies and industry.
iNews 11th Aug 2021 read more »
The president of the Cop26 UN climate change conference has revealed he still drives a diesel car. Alok Sharma, a Tory MP and member of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet, added swiftly that his next car would be electric. The remarks came in a BBC Newsnight interview on the day a damning climate change report said it was “unequivocal” humans had caused global warming. Asked “what do you drive” by the presenter, Mr Sharma responded: “I actually have a diesel car along with millions of other people. “I don’t drive it very much. I take public transport from Reading [his constituency] into London every day. And I can assure you that my next car will most certainly be an electric vehicle.”
Telegraph 10th Aug 2021 read more »