‘Citizens’ juries’ deliver climate crisis verdict to Westminster. Four expert-advised panels across UK agree cost of reaching net zero must not fall on low- and middle-income households. In what is believed to be the first such exercise conducted across all parts of mainland Britain, the four citizens’ juries – covering the Tees Valley, south Wales, Thurrock in Essex and Aberdeen – all agreed the costs of climate change policies must not fall on low- and middle-income households. With the local council and mayoral elections on 6 May and the landmark Cop26 conference in Glasgow later in the year, the message to local and central government is that fairness needs to be at the heart of policymaking as they consider how to bring down carbon emissions. Jurors were also concerned that the thrust of policymaking would be devised in Westminster, ignoring local concerns. With the likelihood that many environmental costs will be passed on to consumers in higher charges, many of the groups expressed concern that ordinary households will be disproportionately penalised.
Guardian 26th April 2021 read more »
The current consensus is that if we deploy so-called “carbon dioxide removal” techniques at the same time as reducing our burning of fossil fuels, we can more rapidly halt global warming. Hopefully around the middle of this century we will achieve “net zero”. This is the point at which any residual emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by technologies removing them from the atmosphere. This is a great idea, in principle. Unfortunately, in practice it helps perpetuate a belief in technological salvation and diminishes the sense of urgency surrounding the need to curb emissions now. We have arrived at the painful realisation that the idea of net zero has licensed a recklessly cavalier “burn now, pay later” approach which has seen carbon emissions continue to soar. It has also hastened the destruction of the natural world by increasing deforestation today, and greatly increases the risk of further devastation in the future. To understand how this has happened, how humanity has gambled its civilisation on no more than promises of future solutions, we must return to the late 1980s, when climate change broke out onto the international stage. The time has come to voice our fears and be honest with wider society. Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5°C because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual, not the climate. If we want to keep people safe then large and sustained cuts to carbon emissions need to happen now. That is the very simple acid test that must be applied to all climate policies. The time for wishful thinking is over.
The Conversation 22nd April 2021 read more »