Speech by Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, to the Whitehall and Industry Group on 16 March 2021 There’s nothing more important than tackling the climate emergency. And the most important organisations doing that are government and business. So it’s great to be here at the Whitehall and Industry Group to talk about the most important thing there is to the most important audience there is. Let me start with a word from one of the most successful businesspeople ever: Bill Gates. In his new book ‘How to Avoid a Climate Disaster’ he says this: There are two numbers you need to know about climate change: 51 billion and zero. The former is the number of tons of greenhouse gases typically added to the atmosphere each year as a result of human activities. The latter is the number of tons we need to get to by 2050 in order to avert a climate crisis. With some humility towards one of the world’s most brilliant business leaders, let me add that there is one more thing you need to know about Net Zero, and it’s this: getting there will not be enough on its own to save our planet. We can and must get to net zero. But if we want to thrive in a climate-changed world we need not only to stop putting more carbon into the atmosphere but to adapt how we live so that we are resilient to the irrevocable changes carbon has already wrought in our climate and those still to come. The bottom line is that Net Zero alone is not enough to save our planet. To do that we need Net Zero Plus. And the plus is adaptation: making ourselves resilient and ready to live safely and well in a climate changed world.
Environment Agency 16th March 2021 read more »
Boris Johnson put the global climate crisis at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy on Tuesday, setting out his vision of “global Britain” after a government review placed climate as “the UK’s foremost international priority”. The prime minister told MPs: “We will host Cop26 [climate summit] in Glasgow in November, and rally as many nations as possible behind the target of net zero [greenhouse gas emissions] by 2050, leading by example since the UK was the first major economy to accept this obligation in law.” However, green campaigners questioned whether the prime minister’s rhetoric was matched by action, and accused him of “hypocrisy” over measures that could increase greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and overseas. The integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, published on Tuesday, is the first post-Brexit assessment of the UK’s role on the world stage, and represents the government’s view of how Britain will help to shape global relations and tackle global problems for decades to come. This year, the UK takes on a key role in the increasingly urgent fight for climate action, hosting vital UN climate talks, called Cop26, the most important climate meeting since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, as well as holding the presidency of the G7 group of nations.
Guardian 16th March 2021 read more »