Tag Archives: climate change

Disabled people don’t want to cost the earth

This year saw an interesting coincidence of events – the Earthshot prize on the 2nd December and the UN Day for disabled people on the 3rd. As a disabled person who cares deeply about climate change these two events happening the day after each other caught my attention.

It has been my experience that often disabled people are left out of discussions around climate change. When discussion around banning plastic straws was happening I saw a lot of disabled people trying to explain that they needed plastic straws to reliably access liquids and explaining why for many of them non-plastic alternatives simply weren’t viable in all circumstances. Rather than listening to us and trying to work with us to find compromises that maintained disabled people’s dignity and independence with minimising plastic waste there were many non-disabled people who at best accused us of lying and at worst seemed to suggest that our lives were worth less than reducing plastic waste.

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Loss and damage deal agreed at COP27 in glass half empty conclusion

It was always expected that a deal on tackling climate change and compensating for its consequences would go to the wire. And indeed, beyond the wire with the Conference of the Parties overrunning from Friday until an agreement early this morning.

There is still unpacking to do on what was achieved. But the glass is perhaps half full as the developed world has agreed to the principle of reparation for loss and damage for extreme climate events, such as the extraordinary flooding we have seen in Pakistan recently and the extreme drought in Africa and elsewhere. But the glass is at least half empty because there is no money on offer. That will have to decided at a future COP or decided on an ad hoc basis (which is what is done with overseas and emergency aid anyway).

The glass is very much half empty because there seems to have been no commitment to an ending of fossil fuel use, even among rich nations such as ours and the USA. The agreement today is for phasing down fossil fuel use, not phasing out. It is not clear that limiting global warming to 1.5° is now achievable. That of course will lead to more reparation payments, providing those countries responsible for most historical emissions pay up.

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COP27: If Sunak won’t go to Egypt, King Charles should

Alok Sharma lost his cabinet role shortly after Rishi Sunak picked up the keys to No 10 Downing Street. It was a shocking action. Sunak could have kept Sharma in place until after COP27. A simple act that would have shown the new prime minister’s commitment to the challenge the world faces as the atmosphere and oceans heat. It would have shown a mark of respect for one of Britain’s greatest champions in tackling climate change. Another simple act would be for the prime minister to attend COP27 for a day to show that Britain is not wavering on its commitments on easing climate change.

The industrial revolution began here in Britain, just up the road from me in Ironbridge. Its achievements are to be celebrated. Its consequences must now be mitigated. We, and the other nations most responsible for greenhouse emissions, must be at the forefront changing the way we work, the way the world works.

This is more a necessary transition than a painful transition. Of course, it costs money up front, but the payback of being ahead on technology change gave us the advantage more than two centuries ago. It should do so again.

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Updating our policies on the climate emergency; the new Tories are also dangerous here

Unfortunately Truss hasn’t yet U-turned on the Tories’ post-Boris backsliding on climate change.  Kwarteng has left the treasury, but we still have Rees Mogg in charge of  BEIS, a secretary for international trade who thinks our net zero commitment is an arbitrary form of unilateral economic disarmament, and a governing party with increasing links with the fossil fuel lobby – including the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

This is frightening – and we need to dial up our focus on the climate emergency.

We agreed a good set of policies on the climate crisis in 2019This does a good job of bringing together the many aspects of the climate emergency, and setting out key priorities.

But a lot has happened since 2019! While the fundamental environmental challenge remains, the economic and political context is different. The wholesale price of gas has increased by 5-10x, and, unless the Ukraine war ends, this is likely to continue until at least 2025. Circumstance and government incompetence has made us all poorer. And after Brexit and the shambles on the economy, attacking net zero may be the Tories’ next trick.    

In that context here are some thoughts to amplify, update, and build on our 2019 work:

Support for insulation and energy efficiency. The costs of having a poorly insulated home have just sky rocketed.  If the state is going to protect people from this (as I believe it should) then reducing how much energy people use is better investment of public money than subsidising the cost of the energy.

Stamp Duty; there should be no stamp duty on houses EPC B and above. If someone buys a house and gets it to EPC B within 12 months they should be able to reclaim the stamp duty. Stamp duty is a bad and unpopular way of taxing property anyway and needs replacing long term. This will phase it out in a way which provides a substantial incentive to increase energy efficiency. 

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Lord help us all….Lib Dems react to new Cabinet

So Liz Truss is now ensconced in Downing Street appointing her new Cabinet. And it looks like it is going to be one of the most socially as well as economically conservative governments in over quarter of a century. This is somewhat surprising given that she is the first Prime Minister of my lifetime who is younger than me.

After a 1000 mile round trip to see the Queen, she went  to her private Commons office  to send Rishi Sunak supporters Grant Shapps, Steve Barclay and Dominic Raab packing.

Every time a new Conservative PM announces their top team, you think it couldn’t get any worse. Remember when Theresa May appointed Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary? And then when Boris in turn made Priti Patel Home Secretary.

So far, Liz Truss has made some very worrying appointments.

First of all, someone who opposes abortion and same sex marriage to health:

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Hot, hot, hot….Willie Rennie calls for maximum workplace temperatures

How are you all coping with the heat?

We are sweltering up here and I am very conscious that we are 10 degrees cooler than most of you in England and Wales. That must be incredibly uncomfortable

We had to stop the dogs going upstairs because it was so warm they were panting all the time. They are basically being kept most of the time in the living room with an air conditioning thing going.

I had a much better night than I expected. All humans and dogs seemed to sleep reasonably. You could tell it was it was hot though. No matter what the temperature, you will normally find me tucked in with the duvet up to my neck. Last night I lay on top of it – until 4 am when I got into bed properly cos my toes were cold.

Sadly I had to go out this morning to my local health centre. It was like an oven. The person who deprived me of my blood had two fans going and was still uncomfortably hot. I felt a bit guilty that I was able to escape to the air-conditioned supermarket while they were stuck in there all day.

So I was pleased to see that Willie Rennie has called for a maximum workplace temperature of 30 degrees and 27 degrees if strenuous work is involved.

At present UK government guidance suggests a minimum of 16ºC or 13ºC if employees are doing physical work but there’s no guidance for a maximum temperature limit. Instead employers just have to commit to “keeping the temperature at a comfortable level”.

However a report from the TUC suggests that short of someone actually being injured or killed it’s unlikely to actually be enforced, despite excessive temperatures being associated with a loss of concentration, increased accidents, falling productivity and risks to health.

Willie’s call would give employers a statutory duty to introduce effective control measures, such as installing ventilation or moving staff away from windows and sources of heat, in line with WHO recommendations for maximum temperatures for working in comfort. Willie has also filed a parliamentary motion which urges Scottish ministers to raise the issue with their UK counterparts.

Willie said:

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Would you consider supporting the civil society advisers’ ask on carbon pricing to the G7?

On the 8th June an Environmental Audit Committee session heard that “To meet 1.5C, we need to think about the impact of our production in the global context. 60 % of oil and gas reserves globally need to stay in the ground. For the UK, we need to see a 6-7% reduction in production annually.” Michael Lewis, Chairman of E.on, stated that insulating 19 million houses would save the equivalent energy output of 6 nuclear power stations, and tweeted that putting solar panels on new-build houses was a ‘no brainer’. What we don’t need is new oil and gas field developments – was COP26 that long ago?

There has been growing acknowledgement worldwide that there is a need for a globally applied carbon pricing policy which would show the true cost of fossil fuel reliance and which, by gradually pricing fossil fuels out of the mix, would facilitate the implementation of renewable energy and carbon sequestration. Calls for such a policy came from the IMF last year. A recent paper in Nature and report by the Autonomy think tank have shown how a carbon pricing policy such as Climate Income in which the revenue is returned equally to the populace as a dividend, if applied globally, would benefit the Global South.

The civil society advisers to the G7 are now adding to the call for comprehensive and just carbon pricing. Citizens’ Climate Lobby International has a useful summary of the various requests and a petition to ask the G7 to heed the call of its civil society advisers. Please consider adding your name and disseminating.

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IPCC climate change report: what next?

This article aims to summarise the recent Climate Change report that was released by the UN’s IPCC, or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This will be done first by reference to the relevant global region, and near the end there is some further discussion on what comes next, and the role of this Government.

Europe

The report identified some key risks for the European region. First, there are likely to be heat-and-drought related risks to crop growing. While the rising temperatures may make agriculture more successful in Northern Europe, the higher heat and increased water scarcity will reduce output in Southern Europe, and the losses in the South are expected to be far greater than the gains in the North. If the global temperature rises by 2 degrees, water scarcity will likely impact a third of the population living in Southern Europe, or around 50,000,000 people, and if the temperature increases one degree further, more than 100,000,000 Europeans will experience water scarcity. At this temperature level – 3 degrees warmer – it is expected that coastal flood damage will increase ten-fold, and that the number of people impacted by flooding will double.

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16 March 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news
  • Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

Zaghari-Ratcliffe released from Iran: At a dark time, this is joyful news

Responding to the news that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman detained in Iran has now been released and is on her way back to the UK, Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Layla Moran MP said:

At a dark time, this is joyful news for us all to celebrate. Members of the public, NGOs, Parliamentarians and, of course, Nazanin and Anoosheh’s families have campaigned tirelessly for their release – it now looks like they are finally coming home.

But it should not have taken years to reach this day – nearly six years in the case of Nazanin. We should never have been in the situation where UK nationals are being used as political bargaining chips. The UK Government has questions to answer for whether their actions, including those of the current Prime Minister, have prolonged this ordeal. I hope the Foreign Secretary will commit to an independent inquiry.

I’m sure many tears are set to be cried in the next twenty-four hours. But for once I hope they are tears of joy.

Jane Dodds: Aberpergwm Coal Mine Expansion Must be Stopped

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have reiterated their opposition to the expansion of Aberpergwm Coal Mine in Neath Port Talbot Council. Addressing a protest in front of the Senedd Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds stated that if we are to stand any hope of tackling climate change before it’s too late, the coal must be left in the ground.

The protest in front of the Senedd in Cardiff saw multiple Welsh climate groups attend.

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Business forums at COP26 revealed what company bosses need from carbon pricing to facilitate decarbonisation – and it is not ETS!

The recent Sustainable Innovation Forum 2021 and Hydrogen Transition Summit revealed that business leaders want to decarbonise but are held back by the lack of price ambition and predictability of the Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) carbon pricing regime. They argued for an economy wide, strong, predictable, preferably global, carbon price to facilitate decarbonisation, ….”The best (thing) governments can do to promote hydrogen is a global carbon tax” Seifi Ghasemi Chairman, CEO and President of Air Products.

The management consulting company Roland Berger advocates a high carbon price to render decarbonisation cost effective, at a level only currently found in Sweden and Switzerland (alongside ETS, with Climate Income in Switzerland). Stefan Schaible, Global Managing Partner, Roland Berger, stated that COP26 had been as he expected, not the lowest or the highest step in the right direction. There was however, a step change in opinion on the environment, (the German government even includes Green Party members!) so there is continuing pressure to reduce emissions targets……“We need action. We cannot go on like this for certain sectors such as energy and transport. Only with carbon at $100 per tonne will profits shrink dramatically or even halve so they (the industry sectors) have to move”.

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Climate change and the real cost of travelling

Our planet needs our immediate attention. It is clear, at least to me, that there aren’t easy answers to some of the global environmental challenges.

Will actions of one individual make any difference? How can I change or improve the way I live my life to protect the planet? We have “mountains to climb” so why bother? I can decide to eat less meat, to recycle more or use other means of traveling.

The latter is an actual problem, especially when you live abroad. It would be great to travel to continental Europe by train, however it is almost impossible if you have a full or even part-time job with limited annual leave.

What about the cost? I find it quite staggering that it is still so much cheaper to fly than to travel by train. The return trip by train from London to Brussels was approximately £100 more expensive than a return trip by plane. This surely can’t be right, can it?

I am certain that many of us realise the severity of the current situation. Although the most recent climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow reached much needed compromise in a number of key areas, there is still some way to go. I just hope that one day, sooner rather than later, the cost of traveling by train will be made much more affordable.

P.S: I must admit that I lost a lot of faith in our leading politicians, who decided to fly to Scotland in private jets rather than travel like “ordinary’ members of the public. President Biden brought with him 22 cars. Why? What for? Mr Johnson returned to London by private plane. He was rushing to attend a dinner, which was apparently organised by a leading climate change sceptic. Are they leading by example? I don’t think so.

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DON’T PANIC: Responding to our Climate Emergency – The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

Just when we reach for it, we realise The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy can only be found on the Fiction shelves. F – not SF – with barely a hint of science warped to suggest credibility. But, oh, how we chuckled at the patently preposterous existential crisis for a planet Earth where no-one had bothered to read the planning notices.

But today our self-inflicted existential crisis is no comedic platform. Novelists prefer the dystopian where borders blurred by reality are fading into climatic irrelevance. COP26 (or COPout26 as some insist) reduced COP President, Alok ‘down, but not out’ Sharma, to tears and moved manipulative mindsets to imagine novel ways of avoiding reality. But, as Jason Hickel writes, “If we accept the facts of climate change, we also have to accept the radical changes necessary to address it.”

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COP26 didn’t save the world but it helps

Glasgow was not a disaster after all. Neither was it a ringing success. Hopes had been building that the Conference of Parties would have reached an agreement that would get us near to capping global warming at 1.5°C. That target has been missed. The promises needed will be delivered in Egypt next year at COP27 at the earliest, if at all. But the ambition to limit the temperature rise 1.5°C is still alive and that is an achievement.

There have been strides forward and the next COP has been brought forward to next year not the usual five year interval.

We need to act quickly.  Climate change is happening not just in developing countries, but here in Europe and in North America.

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Young people need leaders to end the environmental pandemic

The Covid pandemic gave us a temporary glimpse into apocalyptic living.

Day to day life as we knew it ended in March 2020 as we stared into the face of the most serious and scary public health crisis in living memory.

It forced unprecedented changes in our behaviour.

Yet global force delivered vaccinations as the solution.

The climate crisis is no less scary and necessitates similarly swift and robust measures to combat.

Unless we rapidly reduce carbon emissions, we risk not a temporary but permanent state of apocalyptic living.

Just like how Covid can be combatted by technological medical advancement, following the science, and innovation, so too can climate change.

The global health of the planet demands world leaders react with the same level of urgency posed by a pandemic virus. Climate change is indeed mother nature’s pandemic.

My generation’s security, prosperity and very existence rest on their shoulders.

95-year-old Sir David Attenborough’s impassioned plea to COP26 was not about the generation in the room, rather the young people watching at home or protesting outside.

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Is Greta right? Has COP26 failed?

It has been a week of announcements. A week of ambitions. And a week of ambiguities. And according to activist Greta Thunberg, COP26 is nothing other than “blah, blah, blah” and has failed. Is that really the case?

It’s rather imperialistic to argue that the countries that are trying to build their per capita wealth and standards of living should now pay for the sins of the most developed countries. The developed countries are responsible for most of the increases in atmospheric carbon. They are richer and have the ability to pay.

But the reliance of countries like India and China on coal for electricity and the lack of commitment from Russia risks swamping small countries. Quite literally.

There have been achievements on forest clearance, on a mixed bag of net zero targets and on financing. But even if countries keep to their pledges, it still doesn’t stack up to keeping global warming to 1.5°C.

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Observations of an Expat: Climate people

Climate change affects every single one of the7.8 billion people living on planet Earth and each one of them is an individual with homes, jobs, families, friends, dreams and aspirations.

Already these are being shattered by floods, fires, droughts, desertification and storms. Millions have already been affected. Below are a sample of specific cases that herald future problems for the rest of the world.

Cecile Rvanavaluna used to work in her local rice paddy every day. Now Madagascar’s rice fields—which take up a third of the East African Island’s agricultural land—are dust. Madagascar has been suffering a drought for a record 40 years. It is, according to the UN, the victim of the first climate induced famine.

Cecile and her family are being kept just above starvation levels by handouts from the World Food Programme. Other Malagasy’s are less fortunate. At least 30,000 are said to be dying from starvation. Many are reduced to eating cactus leaves which would otherwise be fed to livestock. With so many in a weakened state disease is rampant.

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WATCH: Sarah Green has her first Prime Minister’s Question!

The newest Lib Dem MP, Sarah Green, had her debut PMQ today.

The headquarters of the Epilepsy Society is in her constituency of Chesham and Amersham so it was fitting, during COP26, that she highlighted the need to fund research into the effect of climate change on people with health conditions like Epilepsy.

And Boris Johnson wasn’t even horrible in his response.

I was annoyed that so many MPs talked over Sarah’s questions. It was very disrespectful, particularly on a question that was higher quality than many asked in these sessions.

The text of the exchange is below:

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The hypocrisy of COP26 and those that sponsor it

There is a trust problem about the COP26 meeting, currently happening in Glasgow and deciding the fate of the world.

That is hardly surprising given that – bizarrely, on the eve of a hugely important climate conference, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced billions in road spending, cuts to taxes on polluting domestic flights and cancelled long-delayed fuel duty rises.

But still, that isn’t the only problem about COP meetings in recent years: the other problem is who governments choose as partners.

Polluters like Air France, gas and electricity company Engie and carmakers BMW and Renault were among the sponsors of COP21 in Paris …

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MOVE – Shuffling Humanity

It is just possible to read Parag Khanna’s latest work and take comfort in our prospects here in Europe’s troubled offshore island – but that optimism (as learned when coding in the late 60’s) – is a Multiple IF statement.  The likelihood of a positive outcome is dependent on passing a series of successively dependent tests, each with its own probability of success.  IF this, IF that, and IF something else, THEN this may be.  Optimists may rejoice that the ELSE, and the timeframe, remains unstated.  Even the far-seeing Parag Khanna can only divine a favourable outcome for Britain ‘despite itself’.

As we all edge ever closer to COP26 in Glasgow, and media outlets and governments turn their talents towards analysing climatic challenges, Parag’s focus is humanity – how mass migration will reshape the entire world.  Those of us who were captivated by Bronowski’s ‘Ascent of Man’ back in 1973 may still vividly recall the migrating Lapps and their reindeer herds.  Their nomadic wanderings across the arctic in search of grazing and shelter may have only recently faded but will be as nothing to the emergent mass migrations in search of climatic sufficiency, sustainability, and survival.

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COP26: Likely to save the planet?

Now, I’m not the sort of person that resorts to hyperbole for a dramatic opening sentence but, in case you hadn’t noticed, the future of the planet is hanging in the balance. This is not the statement of a wild-haired fanatic, living with badgers and chanting cross-legged in the woods but a widely acknowledged scientific fact. For the last few years a growing list of eminently respectable people have been warning us that urgent action is required: Sir David Attenborough does it, HRH Prince Charles regularly does it, António Guterres, the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations definitely does it, even peers of the realm do it. Given irrefutable scientific evidence and the reverberating voices of powerful and respected people, then surely, you would think, something is going to change. We know the causes of climate change. We know what action needs to be taken. So, what is stopping us?

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LibLink: Ed Davey says private capital must switch from dirty to clean

Now here’s an interesting thought. Why not ban any new listings of fossil fuel companies on the London Stock Exchange?

Ed Davey flags up this idea in an interview with The Guardian today to mark his first year as Party Leader.

Under the plan outlined to the Guardian by the Lib Dem leader, Ed Davey, another immediate policy would be to stop new bonds being issued in London to finance oil, coal or gas exploration.

Fossil fuel firms already listed in the UK would then have two years to produce a coherent plan about how they would reach net zero emissions by 2045, or risk being struck off the LSE.

In the longer term, pension funds would have to disinvest from fossil fuels by 2035, with all companies with fossil fuel assets removed from the exchange by 2045.

Ed said:

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Davey tells Johnson to save country and world from climate crisis

As COP26 approaches, Boris Johnson is looking more and more like a rabbit confused by headlights. Flashing into his eyes are the growing number of Conservative MPs who believe that greening the economy fast by driving ahead electric cars, reducing wasteful consumption and cutting our impact on the environment will damage “the economy”.

This is a Tory monopolistic view of the economy. Continue in the old ways that are destroying our planet. That must be good in their view because there is money in shareholder’s pockets.

It is proving hard to convince many national politicians, local councils and punters in the pub that we are in a climate emergency. My own council, Shropshire Council, was trumpeting its climate credentials this morning by promoting an environmentally destructive relief road around Shrewsbury. The details of its environmental improvements are under wraps for now but they seem to involve a tarmac for trees swap. Screw up the environment and plant trees in absolution. I don’t buy environmental confessionals.

But we still need to plant trees. Yesterday, Ed Davey challenged the government on its record of planting trees.

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LibLink: Christine Jardine: Hydrogen has huge potential for decarbonisation

In her Scotsman column this week, Christine Jardine looks at Hydrogen as a weapon in our arsenal against climate change.

She looks at many potential uses – from fuelling planes to heating homes and highlights the work of the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney:

EMEC is supporting a project known as HyFlyer which has already achieved the world’s first flight of a commercial-grade hydrogen electric aircraft in September of last year.

ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric Piper Malibu Mirage successfully achieved a 20-minute flight from Cranfield airfield in the UK in which the only fumes it produced were water vapour.

The next phase of the project is targeting a successful commercial-grade flight of a 19-seater craft, potentially in 2023. The green hydrogen fuelling systems required for flight tests will be delivered by EMEC.

Perhaps the best indicator of the potential for hydrogen-powered flight is that the project is backed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.

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Climate Crisis – the challenge is to confront reality

As COP26 – December’s international convention in Glasgow – becomes a major media focus, the scrutiny of environmental plans and policies will be intensified.

Parties across the political spectra are now preparing proposals that will sound good but not offend their core supporters.  They’ve had plenty of practice.  References to fine words buttering no parsnips date back to at least 1634.

To identify the underlying causes of ecological distress one must first strip away mis-characterisations (it’s just a natural cycle) and finger pointing or ‘othering’ (it’s all their fault) and vested interests that stand in the way of progress.  It’s time then to critically review where leaders think they are leading.

Under Ed Davey the Libdems don’t just have a plan – we have a Green Recovery Plan but is that enough to get to the heart of the issues?  Given the scale of the challenge, are the plan’s elements sufficient?  Will many millions of small initiatives be practical and effective, or are major policy reforms required?

  • Save British Countryside
  • Green Every Home
  • Clean Air for Kids
  • Transport revolution
  • Energy Switch

Looking at the details behind these headlines there is much to applaud – and nothing to cause offence.  But will these elements be enough to arrest the current levels of our planet abuse?

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Wera Hobhouse on 100 days to COP26

Yesterday, MPs debated COP26 Conference Priorities in a Westminster Hall debate. The debate was co-sponsored by Wera Hobhouse. Lib Dem MP for Bath. She said this is the biggest opportunity for real climate action since the 2015 Paris agreement, after which we have had a “string of incredibly disappointing COPs”. Wera called for the government to get its own house in order instead of paying to lip service to climate change. The Government has failed to set any direction on how to heat homes in the future, how to expand the electricity grid for increased electricity need, let alone on tackling emissions from heavy industry, shipping or aviation.

COP26 must be a COP of global solidarity. It is time for the Government to put their money where their mouth is. The world is watching to see whether the UK will step up to the plate.

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World Review: Cuba, climate change, the Taliban and foreign aid

Cuba may be reaching the end of its search for Utopian Socialism – shop shelves are empty and people are hungry. Ten years from now 2021 will be known as the year that the world was dragged kicking and screaming to the reality of climate change. The Taliban continues its march to victory with the capture of a key border crossing in the southeast corner on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Boris Johnson’s win on foreign aid this week was the world’s loss.

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Ecocidal thoughts

Embed from Getty Images

Ecocide, unlike Geocide, has yet to be embedded in international law.

Ecocide, as envisaged, would perhaps be reserved for extreme forms of our everyday Planet Abuse and directed at corporates and government leaders whose policies wreak so much damage.  Even so, the chances of such condemnation becoming law are minimal – and the chances of it acting as any deterrent, even less.  Like so much else in the hot air of climate debating circles, the notion of Ecocide is as purely symbolic as national flag waving or political greenwashing.

On the other hand, everyday Planet Abuse is more easily understood by individual citizens and communities.  For sure, there are challenges in tracking useful metrics: many places and people will see different priorities, and we are still a very long way from the general taboos that progressive societies try to muster for, say, Domestic or Racial Abuse.

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World Review: Netanyahu, G7, corporation tax and going green

In this week’s look at world news, LDV’s foreign affairs editor Tom Arms reviews the situation in Israel where Netanyahu looks set to be ousted by a coalition held together, for now at least, by their opposition to the country’s leader of 12 years.

Cornwall will host the G7 summit later this week. Boris Johnson could join his peers having been defeated in the Commons over cuts to overseas aid. Coronavirus, climate change and promotion of green industries are on the agenda.

Finance ministers are expected to agree a base rate for corporation tax today but it is not necessarily a done deal. The proposal must be approved at the G20 summit meeting in Venice in July and countries that benefit from a low corporation tax regime, such as Ireland, are bound to challenge the proposal.

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Baroness Sheehan leads debate on climate change targets in Lords

Yesterday afternoon, the Grand Committee of the House of Lords debated climate change targets. The debate was initiated by Shas Sheehan who emphasised the importance of grasping the nettle of collaborative action on climate change during 2021. She criticised the UK’s investment in fossil fuel projects oversees and worldwide fossil fuel subsidies totalling £3.9 billion annually.

Baroness Sheehan highlighted the planning system which is not aligned with the government’s climate change targets.

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Yesterday was Earth Day – was it also the day we really began to tackle the climate emergency?

Earth Day is now in its 51st year. If Donald Trump had gained a second term, it would have probably gone unnoticed in the Capitol yesterday. But Joe Biden is now leading America and he used the occasion to host an international summit and announce deep cuts in carbon emissions. Pledges came in from leaders across the world.

Boris Johnson got his pennyworth in earlier announced that he will set in law “world’s most ambitious climate change target”, cutting emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels in pursuit of zero carbon by 2050. Admirable stuff. More important than the headline figure is that the UK’s Carbon Budget will incorporate our share of international aviation and shipping emissions, which each contribute three to four per cent each to global warming.

Are we turning the corner at last in getting the political commitments we need to drive the business and societal changes needed to tackle climate change? Maybe.

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