Tag Archives: climate change

Ed Davey writes…Nous sommes Paris

Wow! How did that happen? The United Nations has just agreed the first ever universal climate deal – and it’s better for the global environment than anyone had dared hope for.

For once, believe hyperbole: this is the most significant international agreement since the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.

Here’s just 5 things from Paris that make this so good:

In the run up to Paris, more than 180 countries made commitments to cut emissions significantly;

  1. They agreed a surprisingly strong 5 year review or “ratchet” mechanism for bolder future commitments to cut emissions further;
  2. They backed a new long term goal to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, heading to greenhouse gas neutrality in the second half of this century – meaning the effective ending of fossil fuels;
  3. Increased support for poorer countries to help them – whether in the low carbon transition or in adapting to climate change impacts already with us;
  4. Huge progress on the “rules” for how we decarbonise the world, including key technical stuff on audit and accounting and crucially, strong transparency rules, so we know what countries are actually doing.
  5. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the majority of NGOs: from Greenpeace to Christian Aid, there’s been a huge welcome. And those businesses and financial institutions who take climate seriously are predicting a massive rise in investment in clean green technology.
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Climate change deal shows there has never been a better time to support the Lib Dems

The world woke yesterday morning to an early Christmas gift. Not a novelty knitted jumper or bottle of tipple, but something more poignant altogether. Unconventionally, the gift in question was not only immaterial, but universal, unquantifiable, and intergenerational: the prospect of a deal on climate change in Paris.

The final agreement includes a commitment to keeping temperature rises ‘significantly below’ 2C, with the aim of 1.5C as a target. Whilst 2 degrees may sound inconsequential, the difference between today’s average global temperature and that during the last ice age is around 5 degrees. Our climate has never changed so rapidly, it’s unequivocally due to human activity, and avoiding the problem could result in temperature rises of 5-6C by the end of this century. Ask a climate scientist to describe what a 5-degree-world would be like, and you might just wish that you hadn’t.

Whilst a UN agreement provides a mandate for action, the thorny issue of how we get there is likely to make the COP21 negotiations look like a doddle. To this end, we must turn to the pillars of reasoned progress: science and politics. Earlier this year, the Tyndall centre (host to some of the world’s leading climate scientists) published an analysis of future climate projections for the 21st century: exploring 400 different possible ‘routes’ to achieving what has since been agreed in Paris. Of those, 86% rely on unproven technology, such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). For the remaining scenarios, emissions would have had to have peaked in the past at around 2010. Assuming technology will solve the climate problem is an aspiration, not a grounded projection. Whilst it’s unlikely that non-existent technologies will fit the bill, it’s even less-likely that Dr. Emmett Brown will be using his DeLorian to help us fix the emissions of the past.

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Lib Dems welcome Paris climate agreement

Commenting on the Paris Agreement Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron MP said :

The landmark agreement that has been reached in Paris must be welcomed as a vital step in combating climate change.

The Government must now urgently rethink its cuts to renewable energy which are undermining the achievements of Ed Davey and Liberal Democrats in the Coalition government in promoting green energy.

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Ed Davey writes: On the eve of a climate breakthrough …

 

Whatever the press report on the Paris UN Climate Change agreement, it’s already clear there are 3 things we should remind people about:

  • first, it’s great news the whole world has come together to make the first ever global climate change agreement, so elusive over the last 25 years;
  • second, the impressive commitments to cut greenhouse gases are huge steps forward – and should make the remaining vital steps easier and cheaper;
  • third, Liberal Democrats played a major role towards this agreement – in leading the UK’s policy for Paris, in shaping the European Union’s and by representing the UK at the previous 5 UN climate summits – the essential building blocks for this weekend’s success in Paris.
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Ed Davey warns about alliances between anti EU campaigners and climate change deniers

Former Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has warned about alliances developing between climate change sceptics and anti EU campaigners.

The Guardian reports that he has written to the head of the Vote Leave campaign to point out the damage associating with those who dispute climate change could do to their campaign and, ultimately, to the UK’s international reputation:

Davey writes: “The campaign you lead, Vote Leave, seems ready to ally itself with climate change deniers who are on the wrong side of scientific evidence and international consensus … If you will not unequivocally distance yourself from both

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Robin Teverson writes … Keeping the green in the Green Investment Bank

Everybody knows that when you want to win an argument, you need to ‘walk the talk’.  Doing the opposite to what you preach tends to fatally undermine your case.

When that argument is persuading the rest of the world, in Paris, to tackle the root causes of climate change, your actions back home act as a global shop window.

But saying one thing, and doing another, is exactly the course this Tory government has taken over green issues. And they do it with no apparent embarrassment, or even understanding of the problem.

So we have the Foreign Secretary in the United Nations, and Cameron at the opening of COP21 in Paris making speeches that even Lib Dems would applaud.  But what’s the track record back here in Britain where they drive the nitty-gritty of climate policy?

Take the Green Investment Bank.  Set up by Vince Cable in 2012, a Lib Dem manifesto commitment in 2010, over its short existence it has successfully invested £2.3 billion into the UK’s green economy bringing in a further £7 billion in from the private sector.  Not just that, its operations are already profitable.  As a result the UK has more renewables, more combined heat and power plants, more energy efficient road lighting, more heat pumps.  It has been a great Coalition success, down to Lib Dems in government.

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Climate change dangers show why Liberal Democrats are needed in government

Next week the fate of the world is going to be decided. That is a statement that we have rarely, if ever, been able to say with any certainty. But the consequences of another year, five years or decade without a global climate change agreement in the form of a legally binding treaty on all major global polluters could see the progress of degradation accelerate to a point where any further action would be mostly damage control. That is the solemn mandate of the Paris Cop21 Climate Conference, co-operate or face consequences, consequences that will be more tangible than ever before.

As global temperature rise being successfully held at 2 degrees Celsius looks more and more improbable, and unprecedented ice-cap melt (like that of Greenland in 2012) continues to stun Arctic communities and swell the global oceans, the level of climate disruption is now undeniably enormous. Even the kind of serious concerted action we all hope for in Paris will not be enough for those who are already set to face the horrors of the degree of environmental disruption we have now made inevitable. The most striking case of all? The chain of Pacific islands that form the state of Kiribati. Climate scientists have suggested that by 2100, or even earlier, rising sea levels will result in the full submersion of the islands.

This will be a decisive moment in human history. At this point our human capacity for destruction will have been fully realised, we will have effectively destroyed an entire nation. Global leaders in Paris who think that at their feet is placed an impossible and sobering task should be reminded of just how sobering a task lies at the feet of Anote Tong, Kiribati’s President, who every year must plan for the future awaiting a people who will lose the very land they call home to the sea, on account of our actions.

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  • User AvatarDavid Evans 26th Sep - 1:00am
    Jack, I simply believe that the purpose of education is to enable each and every individual to achieve their full potential, not just to provide...
  • User AvatarDavid Pocock 26th Sep - 12:53am
    I was there! My first time doing anything like this too. Was a good experience I am happy to report thanks to the veterans who...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 26th Sep - 12:16am
    @Mick Taylor "And Dave Orbison, insulter par excellence complains about that sort of behaviour!" I don't recall Dave Orbison insulting people on LDV (though he...
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    @Mick Taylor - what specific economic policy that has actually been articulated by Corbyn is lunatic? What specific civil rights issue has Corbyn articulated that...
  • User AvatarSimon Parker 25th Sep - 11:13pm
    Good to see Charlie hard at work Will try to get my hound put on the campaign trail. Charlie is definitely not Camrron's poodle!
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    And Dave Orbison, insulter par excellence complains about that sort of behaviour! Let me say again, Lib Dems cannot easily work with the Labour Party...