Boris Johnson must flesh out plans for the UK to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 if he is to make a success of the COP 26 climate summit, campaigners have said. The government has not yet set out firm plans or systematic new measures aimed at reaching the net-zero target, which was enshrined in law by Theresa May last summer. Meeting the target will require sweeping changes to the UK’s economy and infrastructure, from energy generation to transport, housing to farming and consumer goods to food. Nearly every major government department is likely to be involved in some way. Launching the UK’s presidency of the crunch UN climate meeting, set for Glasgow this November, Johnson highlighted only one major new policy – bringing forward the planned phase-out of diesel and petrol vehicles from 2040 to 2035 – and appeared to rely on the achievements of past governments to burnish the UK’s green credentials. Aaron Kiely, a climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the UK was “woefully off track” in bringing emissions down to the levels needed to meet net zero by mid-century. He called for drastic action: “The prime minister could show real international leadership on the climate crisis by scrapping plans for new roads and runways, and ending government support for gas, coal and oil developments at home and abroad.” Kiely said new jobs could be created by investing in renewable energy, public transport and a nationwide energy efficiency programme. There is currently no national scheme for home insulation and energy efficiency – the last one was abandoned nearly five years ago – and onshore wind farm construction levels have fallen sharply as government support has been withdrawn and planning obstacles put in the way of new turbines. Only one new onshore wind farm was started in 2019. Next month’s budget would be the ideal opportunity for the government to switch track, and bring forward concrete new measures on the climate crisis, said Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s policy director. “We know Boris Johnson can talk the talk on climate, but in terms of walking it, he has been no Usain Bolt,” he said. “The prime minister needs to use next month’s budget to show that Britain is ready to do what it takes to tackle the climate emergency. “We don’t need more long-term targets and pledges, we need concrete measures such as banning new oil and gas drilling, rocket-boosting renewable energy and directing 5% of government spending towards tackling the climate and nature emergency. Britain has to lead by example, or it won’t lead at all.”
Guardian 6th Feb 2020 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn has accused Boris Johnson of “failing spectacularly” to measure up to the scale of the climate crisis, after the sacked president of COP 26 revealed the UK was miles behind in getting ready for the November summit. Speaking at prime minister’s questions, Corbyn raised the government’s failure to organise COP 26 properly, after Johnson’s team sacked Claire O’Neill as the summit’s president just days before its formal launch. Corbyn highlighted O’Neill’s criticisms that “there has been a huge lack of leadership and engagement from this government” over the climate crisis conference. But Johnson dismissed the attack, saying all that Corbyn would produce on tackling global heating was “a load of hot air”.
Guardian 5th Feb 2020 read more »
Breakthrough technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen cannot be relied on to help the UK meet its climate change targets, a report says. The government had hoped that both technologies would contribute to emissions reductions required by 2050. But the report’s authors say ministers should assume that neither carbon capture and storage (CCS) nor hydrogen will be running “at scale” by 2050. They say the government must start a debate on other, controversial steps. The new technology report comes from a government-funded consortium of academics from Cambridge, Oxford, Nottingham, Bath and Imperial College London.
BBC 6th Feb 2020 read more »