LibLink: Ed Davey: China will dictate the success of COP 26

When it comes to major global climate change talks, Lib Dem leader Ed Davey has way more experience than Boris Johnson. As Climate Change Secretary, he knows how to bring people across the world together and make progress.

He has written in the Standard about the challenges facing those who want to reach a binding agreement to limit carbon emissions and therefore temperature rises.

China is key. Unless they come on board, it will be very difficult to make the necessary changes. Ed says how he did it the last time:

Having led the UK’s negotiations at three previous COPs, I know the Chinese are tough. In my time we used air pollution to reel China into the fold. Smog is a national crisis in China, killing hundreds of thousands every year, if not millions.

When I appeared on China’s equivalent of BBC’s Question Time, solving air pollution was the only question. How had we eradicated London’s smogs? So we made the link: tackle local air pollution and, at the same time, global air pollution. China was won over for the Paris Treaty. But what we need this time is far, far bigger. For Glasgow to succeed, the UK must lead the task to persuade China to go much further — to reduce and end coal usage far earlier and far faster than it currently plans.

He says that there are carrots as well as sticks:

So the West may need to act, to remind China of its responsibility to the world. We could, for instance, agree to a carbon border levy; essentially pointy-headed jargon for “making it impossible for China to sell to the West if they don’t get their (green)house (gasses) in order”.

People often ask me: what’s the difference between a good COP and a bad COP. Well, a good COP is one we can tell our grandchildren about. A bad COP is one we can tell our grandchildren about while we’re living on a boat. For all our sakes, let’s hope Glasgow’s COP is the former.

You can read the whole article here.

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4 Comments

  • Neil James Sandison 2nd Nov '21 - 3:46pm

    interesting Ed has hit upon a carbon border levy which would underpin our long held belief of the in polluters pays principle add that to carbon fee and dividend already practiced by Canada and Austria and supported by the Green Liberal Democrats and we have a tool that holds (exporters )polluters to account be they China or Russia it also protects the energy poor or those in fuel hardship in our own country who will find carbon taxes as financially and socially unjust as fossil fuel charges.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 3rd Nov '21 - 8:47am

    Christina, I think that he means that rising tides will put cities underwater.

  • Peter Hirst 14th Nov '21 - 2:27pm

    China was the elephant in the room. They and India and perhaps others watered down the text on coal. The important thing is to keep them in the room. At least they engaged in the process that makes me quite hopeful.

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