Tag Archives: COP27

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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Wera Hobhouse MP writes: The Conservatives are taking a major risk with people’s lives

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The UK’s presidency of COP26 should have been a turning point for Government action. Instead there are targets, with no sufficient plans in place to actually meet them. Therese Coffey noted that “the big COPs tend to be every five years,” which aligns well with her colleague Sunak’s lacklustre attitude toward this year’s conference.

The day after leaving COP27, where he said we need to ‘move further and faster’ toward Net Zero, the Prime Minister is set to announce that he has secured a major deal with the US to import 10 billion cubic metres of fracked shale gas.

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Tom Arms’ World Review

Ukraine

The Ukrainians are advancing – slowly. They don’t trust the Russians. Vladimir Putin has given his troops the order to abandon the western half of the key city of Kherson. Civilians and medical staff have been evacuated from both the eastern and western halves of the city divided by the river Dnieper.

But the Ukrainians are not rushing in to fill the vacuum. They are concerned that the Russians have covered their retreat with land mines and other explosives and have trained their artillery on the deserted streets. Furthermore, that they are preparing for deadly street-to-street, house-to-house fighting in the eastern half of the city.

In the meantime, the Kremlin rumour mill continues to churn out stories about the imminent overthrow of President Putin. The left anti-war wants peace and an end to the war while the right nationalist wing is demanding that more resources – including, if necessary, tactical nuclear weapons, be thrown into the fight. The latest opinion polls, however, show that 78 percent continue to support Putin personally, although support for the war is slipping.

2022 World Cup

Someone should have warned the Qataris about being careful about what you wish for before they started bribing officials to secure the 2022 World Cup. The sporting event is second only to the Olympics in the pantheon of international sporting events and usually brings economic and political benefits to the host country.

In the case of Qatar’s ruling al-Thani family, they are spending $30 billion on hosting the football event. This involves building half a dozen stadiums, roads, a state-of-the-art metro and a number of hotels. They can afford it. Qatar is the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup, but it is among the top ten wealthiest in the world. The per capita income of the oil and gas-rich Gulf emirate is $61,000 a year and it has a sovereign wealth fund of $450 billion. It can afford to show off its wealth.

But at the same time, it would rather not have the spotlight turned on its human rights record – especially as regards migrant labour and LGBTQ rights. Tens of thousands of construction workers were recruited from South Asia to build the World Cup infrastructure. They worked in searing heat, were paid abysmally low wages and lived in squalid dormitory conditions. If they wanted to return home they had to apply for an exit visa which was rarely granted. The Guardian reported that 6,500 of them died. This figure been disputed, but the newspaper says it is based on reports from South Asian embassies in Qatar.

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Tom Arms’ World Review

COP27

Egypt’s Red Sea resort Sharm el-Sheikh is busily preparing for an invasion of Earth’s political leaders, their extensive entourages and the world’s media. They are not descending on the tourist spot for its sun and sand but for yet another climate change conference.

It will be a difficult one. Last year’s Glasgow get-together committed the developed to providing $1 trillion to wean the developing world off fossil fuels. That was before the Ukraine War and its accompanying energy and cost of living crisis. The money that was earmarked for solar and wind farms in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia is now being spent on higher oil prices and state of the art weaponry for Ukraine. Even more money will be required to rebuild Ukraine.

On top of that, the preachy developed world is shelving many of its green projects in favour of quick fix fossil fuels to replace Russian natural gas. All of which means that it will become increasingly difficult and expensive to stick to the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees centigrade. This is a difficult to swallow reality, but world leaders may have to switch the climate change emphasis from prevention to adaptability while at the same time trying to limit temperature rises as much as possible.

Putin

Putin is retreating. And it is a big retreat.

Crucial to his war aims is the strategic city of Kherson. It controls access to Russian-held Crimea by land and by the Dnieper River. The river is also a main source of irrigation and drinking water for the province that Russia annexed in 2014. This week the Russian President publicly announced the evacuation of civilians from Kherson. “It is too dangerous for them to remain,” he said. Military medical units have also evacuated and some fighting units have abandoned their foothold on the river’s west bank. Ukrainian victory in Kherson is not yet a foregone conclusion and some defense experts are predicting fierce house to house fighting in the near future.  But the prospects look good for a successful Ukrainian offensive.

Putin’s Kherson problems top another bad week for him in Ukraine. It started with him pulling out of the deal to allow much-needed grain-laden Ukrainian ships out of their ports. The pull-out was in response to an alleged British-organised attack on Russian ships in the Black Sea. Within days he was forced to reverse his position under international pressure and the refusal of Turkey and the UN deal brokers to support him.

Meanwhile, the Russians continue to bomb electricity and water supplies. Ukrainian teams are working around the clock to keep the country’s electricity grid running, but despite their efforts, 4.5 million Ukrainians are said to be without power as winter approaches. An increasing number of the artillery shells are coming from fellow rogue state North Korea which this week raised tensions by despatching 180 warplanes to buzz the border area with South Korea.

China

China is, of course, crucial to international efforts to apply pressure on Russia and North Korea to behave. This week German Chancellor Olof Scholz secured a diplomatic coup in persuading Chinese President Xi Jinping to publicly condemn “the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons.” The condemnation came in the joint communique at the end of Scholz’s one-day visit to Beijing. Xi refused to allow the communique to mention either Vladimir Putin or Russia by name, but, as Scholz said in the follow-up press conference, the inference was clear.

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2 November 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance
  • Welsh Government Must Do More to Combat Fuel Poverty
  • Matt Hancock should resign and trigger by-election
  • Welsh Conservatives Dysfunctional, Divided and Ineffective
  • Welsh Liberal Democrats – Welsh Government Must Change Their Mind on COVID Inquiry

Sunak at COP27: PM embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance

Responding to the news that Rishi Sunak will now be attending COP, Liberal Democrat Climate Change Spokesperson Wera Hobhouse MP said:

This whole debacle has shown the environment is simply not a priority for Rishi Sunak. He’s only going after being embarrassed by Boris Johnson’s attendance.

We need action rather than just attendance from the Prime Minister. Building more renewables, the cheapest and most popular form of energy, and insulating our cold and draughty homes will accelerate progress towards net-zero, cut energy bills and increase the UK’s energy security.

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31 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance
  • Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else
  • Scandal-ridden Home Secretary has no credibility left
  • Suella Braverman Risks Inciting Violence – Jane Dodds

COP27: Boris Johnson embarrassing Rishi Sunak into attendance

As Rishi Sunak refuses to confirm his attendance at COP27, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change, Wera Hobhouse MP said:

It shouldn’t take Boris Johnson going to COP to embarrass Rishi Sunak into doing the right thing.

He must immediately confirm his attendance at COP27 and appoint a climate minister to the Cabinet.

We cannot wait another second to tackle the climate crisis. Rishi Sunak must act before he destroys our country’s reputation and the planet even more.

Braverman: One rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else

Responding to the Home Secretary’s letter to the Home Affairs Committee, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Wendy Chamberlain MP, said:

This was not a one-off error, the Home Secretary has admitted breaking the rules on an industrial scale. Deliberately sending a sensitive government document to a friend without clearance is completely beyond the pale.

If the Home Secretary wants to maintain even a shred of her dignity and credibility, she must resign now and apologise for her violations of the public’s trust.

Unless Suella Braverman resigns for the second time, the Conservatives will be putting their own party ahead of this country’s security. By reappointing her, Rishi Sunak showed there is one rule for Conservative Ministers and another rule for everyone else.

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28-30 October 2022 – the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry
  • Jane Dodds – The Housing Sector in Wales is Broken
  • COP27: Nadine Dorries as the voice of reason?
  • Liz Truss phone hacking story: Urgent investigation needed
  • Suella Braverman: Government must publish legal advice on detention of asylum seekers

Lib Dems call for Suella Braverman to hand over texts and emails for future inquiry

The Liberal Democrats have written to the Home Office Permanent Secretary, asking him to facilitate the handover of Suella Braverman’s text messages, WhatsApps, and emails for use in any future inquiry into her misconduct.

Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesperson Alistair Carmichael raised concerns that the embattled Home Secretary could take advantage of a loophole exploited by Boris Johnson during an inquiry into the funding of the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat. The former Prime Minister claimed that he had been unable to hand over important messages because he had changed his phone.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael said:

We need an independent inquiry with access to all the relevant evidence, to establish the true scale of Suella Braverman’s rule breaking.

We saw how Boris Johnson and other Conservative ministers have tried time and again to duck accountability and cover up the truth.

Suella Braverman must be required to hand over all relevant evidence now before it is too late.

It took less than a day for Rishi Sunak’s government to be mired in the same old Conservative sleaze. His promise of ‘integrity’ was broken within hours of entering Downing Street. If he was serious about integrity he would commit to an independent inquiry now.

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27 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Shell profits: Lack of proper windfall tax an insult to families struggling to pay bills
  • Suella Braverman: Sunak must correct record if he misled Parliament
  • Shell rebate shows government’s windfall tax is failing
  • COP27: Rishi Sunak must not turn his back on progress

Shell profits: Lack of proper windfall tax an insult to families struggling to pay bills

Responding to Shell announcing £8.2bn ($9.5bn) in the third quarter, around double last year’s, Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

The Conservative government’s refusal to properly tax these eye-watering profits is an insult to families struggling to pay their energy bills.

Even the CEO of Shell has admitted that oil and gas companies should be taxed more to help protect vulnerable households.

It’s time Rishi Sunak introduced a proper windfall tax and used the extra money to support people facing heart-breaking choices this winter.

Innocent families and pensioners should not be left to pick up the bill for this Conservative government wrecking the economy.

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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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