Boris Johnson’s delay in publishing the net zero emissions strategy has left a space for climate sceptics to “complain, attack and undermine” on cost grounds, and other countries could do with seeing more “proper leadership” from the UK before Cop26, the government’s independent climate adviser has said. Lord Deben, the Conservative peer and chair of the climate change committee, said critics of the net zero policy had been vocal in the public debate because “it hasn’t been put into context by the government”. Johnson has stuck to Theresa May’s policy of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but the government has not yet published a roadmap of policies, a Treasury review of costs or some of its sectoral strategies. These are now expected in September, just two months before the UN talks in Glasgow, after rows with the Treasury about how to spread the cost of changes, ranging from green boilers to decarbonising transport. In an interview with the Guardian, Deben said the absence of detail had “given an open opportunity for people to make all sorts of statements without any response from the government”, which was why he was “pressing very hard to get this work out”. He said Johnson should take credit for sticking to the net zero policy, and he praised the government’s preparations for the Cop26 summit under its climate envoy, Alok Sharma.
Guardian 16th Aug 2021 read more »
Johnson is heading for a stand-off with many of his backbenchers on green issues as the UK prepares to host the Cop26 UN climate summit in Glasgow. It’s not clear whether he has realised quite how widespread the worry is within his own party about the direction he is heading in on climate change policies. It’s not even clear whether he understands what the nub of the problem is. Because he is not a tribal politician, he is not fully aware of the delineation of the groups in his party on climate. The noisiest is the “net zero scrutiny group” (NZSG), set up by Steve Baker and led by South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay. It is easy for casual observers – including the prime minister – to assume that this is the only source of scepticism about the measures needed to reach net zero. It isn’t. What they aren’t, according to Mackinlay, is a bunch of climate change deniers dressing up their irritation with this agenda as serious scrutiny of the policies. “What I want this group to be is a clearing house, a balanced academic facility where we get all sides of the argument. We only seem to get one argument from the climate change committee and when the serious decisions come we want to be fully armed.” Their main worries are the cost of many of the proposed measures on the lower paid, as well as the real greenness of what’s on offer. Members often cite electric vehicles as an example. “We are being skewered down the route of just battery vehicles,” explains Mackinlay. “But there are a lot of hidden costs to the planet here, not least because of the rare metals involved, which are usually produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo involving unspeakable human misery. I’m not convinced that the mining companies have got the ability to produce the volumes of these things that we need.”
Guardian 15th Aug 2021 read more »