Extinction Rebellion’s main demand is for the government to “enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025”. Net zero means that any remaining emissions are balanced by systems that remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The group also calls for the creation of a “citizen’s assembly” to oversee the changes “in a mobilisation of wartime-like proportion” in reducing energy use and economic consumption. A third demand is for the government to “tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency”. Richard Black, the director of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit, which supports strong action on climate change, said the group’s 2025 target was “an ambition that technically, economically and politically has absolutely no chance of being fulfilled”. It would mean banning flying, scrapping 38 million petrol and diesel vehicles and disconnecting 26 million gas boilers – all within six years. The UK has already set itself one of the strongest legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse emissions of any country, committing to cut them by 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. UK emissions fell for a sixth consecutive year last year and are down 44 per cent on 1990. However, much of the progress has been made by the relatively straightforward process of switching electricity generation from coal to gas, wind and solar. There has been little progress in cutting emissions from heating and transport and the Committee on Climate Change, a government-appointed advisory body, has warned that the UK is not on target to meet interim targets for the next decade. It says meeting the targets “will require existing progress to be supplemented by more challenging measures”. The committee will next month publish a report requested by the government advising on “setting a date for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, including from transport, industry and agriculture”.
Times 18th April 2019 read more »
Since the Climate Change Act was passed with all-party support in 2008, UK greenhouse gas emissions have fallen to 43 per cent below 1990 levels, meeting the first two four-year carbon targets and on target to meet the third by 2022. But at the end of last year Westminster’s Committee on Climate Change reported that “urgent action is needed to flesh out current plans and proposals, and supplement them with additional measures, to meet the UK’s legally-binding carbon targets in the 2020s and 2030s”. In response, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published an update paper detailing all the current and future actions with a list of 54 milestones for the next two or three years, but is it enough? The launch of a gloomy Met Office report in November heard this: “It is clear that the planet and its weather patterns are changing before our eyes. Our seas are storing increasing amounts of heat: around half of all ocean warming has occurred since 1997. Even as we take action to slow carbon dioxide pollution now, physics dictates that the climate will keep heating up for decades to come.” The Extinction Rebellion wants zero carbon within six years, so things obviously aren’t happening fast enough for them, but the movement is not just about climate change or biodiversity. It is also, according to Ms Farrell, about “addressing a debt-obsessed economy” and tackling the “insane level of consumption of consumer goods”. Certainly the leaflets being handed out on North Bridge were clear: “When government and the law fail to ensure the security of a people’s well-being and the nation’s future, it becomes the right of citizens to seek redress. We rise in a struggle for a meaningful democracy capable of enacting the radical solutions our crisis demands.”
Scotsman 18th April 2019 read more »
Michael Gove has told environmental protesters “we’ve got the message” as campaigners vow the disruption in London will continue for weeks. The Environment Secretary’s comments came after some activists glued themselves to a train and others chained themselves to Jeremy Corbyn’s garden fence. A total of 340 people had been arrested by Wednesday evening during ongoing protests in Parliament Square, Waterloo Bridge, Oxford Circus and Marble Arch this week.
The i News 17th April 2019 read more »
SIR JOHN ARMITT: We have been too timid in trying to reduce carbon emissions
Everyone is waking up to the fact that decisive, long-term action on carbon emissions is needed across all aspects of our economy and everyday life. From protesters glueing themselves to lorries in London, to the governor of the Bank of England making a heartfelt appeal to the financial community. This week, as the capital became the scene of widening protests, Mark Carney warned the City it had to “raise the bar” in its response to climate change. The catastrophic effects of climate change are already visible around the world, said Carney. No community is immune from these events that damage health, property and infrastructure. But if carbon emissions are to decline by 45 per cent from 2010 levels over the next decade to reach net zero by 2050, then it will require a “massive reallocation of capital”. In tackling this challenge, the private sector has a role to play as well as government. The infrastructure we have now, and the type we plan to build, will support and sustain us for decades. Our quality of life and our success as a world economy in the future, depend on the long-term decisions we make today. But over the last 50 years the UK has seen an endless cycle of delays and prevarication and uncertainty in the development of its essential infrastructure. Timidity and short-termism have been our constant enemies whilst technology and demand have raced ahead. All too often our country has been playing catch-up. That’s why the National Infrastructure Commission was set up as the government’s official, impartial adviser – to recommend how best to meet the UK’s needs up to 30 years in the future and hold our leaders to account for their progress. Our first National Infrastructure Assessment details how we can grow our economy as well as reduce our carbon emissions by leading the move to an energy system that is powered by renewable sources such as wind and solar. It also makes recommendations on transport, cities, water capacity and a digital network truly fit for the 21st century. The Commission sets a clear direction and makes a realistic, robust and evidence-based assessment of what can and should be delivered – all within the stated aim of ministers for steady and continued investment. The true test will come when the chancellor responds at his spending review in November. Today, in our latest study, the Commission calls for a ban on the sale of new diesel HGV vehicles by 2040 to help make UK freight carbon-free. Over the next 30 years heavy freight transport in the UK is expected to increase by at least 27 per cent and could rise by as much as 45 per cent.
Times 18th April 2019 read more »
Spare us the deluded arrogance of the middle-class climate warriors.
Telegraph 16th April 2019 read more »