Social distancing rules, narrow pavements and the absence of cars are combining to make us reclaim the streets. This emergency hit the world at a critical moment, when public concern about climate change had finally reached a tipping point and politicians felt empowered to enact the necessary changes. But now climate change could be sent plummeting down the list of priorities for both politicians and voters. Without a concerted effort of political will to keep climate mitigation plans on track, 2020 might come to be seen with hindsight as the year efforts to contain one tragedy with the potential to kill millions made it harder to prevent another, likely to kill millions more. Even the short-term reduction in climate emissions are easy to overestimate. Professor James Curran, chair of the James Hutton Institute and a long-time campaigner on climate change, estimates very roughly that the lockdown will at most cut out only three weeks’ worth of global carbon emissions – that’s assuming an almost 10 per cent shrinkage in global GDP, as mooted by the World Trade Organisation earlier this month as a pessimistic scenario. The IMF last week predicted a three per cent reduction in global GDP: under that scenario, the carbon “saving” would be one week’s worth of global emissions, before the economy bounced back. Helping the economy recover can’t be done at the expense of climate mitigation measures. There’s no time left: 20 years of foot-dragging have seen to that. If runaway climate change is to be prevented, we have to transition to a net zero emissions economy immediately.
Herald 24th April 2020 read more »
Jeremy Clarkson: So now everyone is rushing about telling anyone who’ll listen that there can be no going back to the old ways. That when this pandemic is over, we must keep the planes on the ground and our cars in the garage. Doubtless Sir Attenborough will fly himself and a large film crew to Tuvalu at the first opportunity to stand up to his ankles in the sea and tell us to take our holidays from now on in Ullapool. There is, however, a small problem with this. The world is geared up to use about 3,500 million gallons of crude oil a day. But now, because about 40% of the world’s population is stuck at home, only 3,000 million gallons are needed. Which means that every single day 500 million gallons are coming out of the ground and no one wants them.
Times 26th April 2020 read more »
Nicola Sturgeon has called on the people of Scotland to work together to create a new, better nation our of the devastation caused by the coronavirus. The First Minister said the virus had shaken Scots’ lives to their core but that “there is an opportunity to see them put back together differently, and see a new way of doing things”. But rather than just restoring what had been wrecked, Sturgeon said the crisis had presented the chance to “think together, and work together, to decide the kind of Scotland we want”. “Before this crisis, we were focused on our mission of making Scotland a greener, fairer and more prosperous country. That has not changed. But the place from where we are starting has.”
Herald 26th April 2020 read more »