The UK is set to chair the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November. This, effectively, is the world’s last chance to agree measures that could limit global warming to a 1.5C rise above pre-industrial levels and so head off the worst consequences of our looming crisis. The UK therefore faces particularly intense pressure to ensure this summit is a success and needs to send out a clear message that it possesses the credentials to achieve that goal. To do this, Britain must make it clear that it has plans to put its own house in order with a programme of measures that demonstrate it can curb its carbon emissions speedily and effectively. Many nations will be coming to Glasgow to look for inspiration and the UK’s credibility as summit host rests on it having a clear strategy that shows that in the near future Britain will not be putting more carbon into the atmosphere than it removes, so achieving the goal of net-zero emissions. Unfortunately, there are few signs that such a master plan is anywhere near readiness. Boris Johnson may have become a recent convert to green causes, having derided the science of climate change many times in the past. Nevertheless, his administration remains guilty of continuing to support measures that are irreconcilable with a strategy of achieving net zero in the near future. This list of incompatibilities includes the government’s recent scrapping of the green homes grant insulation scheme; freezing fuel duty while doing little to help electric car owners; authorising billions to be spent on new road schemes; delaying the phasing out of gas boilers in homes; and encouraging airport expansion. All are likely to lead to increases in carbon dioxide emissions rather than helping us to reduce them. Cop26 delegates from developing nations will see little inspiration in such an inventory. For good measure, the recent deep cuts that have been made to our overseas aid have badly harmed the UK’s reputation internationally. Our prospects of influencing the world at Cop26 at this moment look bleak, though there have been some encouraging moves, with Johnson revealing that he is set to announce a new £400m scheme to encourage homeowners to buy low-carbon alternatives to gas boilers.
Observer 15th Aug 2021 read more »
Imposing “premature austerity” again will undermine the fight against climate change and stop poorer households going green, one of the world’s leading climate economists has warned the government, amid claims that the Treasury is resisting policies to tackle the crisis. Nicholas Stern, the author of the seminal 2006 government study into the costs of climate change, said comprehensive programmes were needed to help poorer households make the switch to electric cars and away from gas heating, if the government hoped to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. In an interview with the Observer, he joined other prominent figures in calling on Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak to invest in the technology needed and adopt policies such as subsidised loans to help all households make the switch.
Guardian 14th Aug 2021 read more »
Andrew Marr: Treat people like grown-ups and they will fight climate change like Covid-19. Education works. We are following the science and as we continue to do so, we will successfully tackle climate-change issues in the same way we faced down the coronavirus.
iNews 14th Aug 2021 read more »
Boris must sack hypocrite ministers who refuse to buy an electric car. Ministers saying one thing and doing another threatens to undermine both the net zero strategy and the Government’s popularity. As we approach the final weeks before Cop26, Ministers are going to declare a “Climate Emergency”, calling for massive changes to our lifestyles. But it will be revealed that few of them personally behave as if there was even a mild threat from climate change.
Telegraph 14th Aug 2021 read more »