Caroline Lucas: While climate sceptics wax lyrical about the ‘cost of net zero’, they conveniently omit the cost of not getting to net zero. This week, we’ve heard predictions from the Met Office that the probability of surpassing 1.5C heating within five years has now jumped to 50 per cent. Temperatures are reaching 50C in parts of the world. We’ve heard reports of 195 “carbon bombs” from the fossil fuel industry, each set to unleash a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Prince Charles, then – such an ardent advocate for environmental action – must have been scanning the pages of the Queen’s Speech in disbelief, as he was compelled to deliver a government-stamped rhetoric to the nation which failed to mention the word “climate” even once. And now we hear that the government has underspent its net zero budget by a staggering quarter of a billion pounds. Just months after proudly trumpeting “cash” as one of his four flagship pledges day after day during Cop26, Boris Johnson has evidently filed the whole summit away in a dusty drawer, never to be seen or spoken of again. The Tories now fundamentally fail to even acknowledge, let alone address, this crisis. When we face a soaring cost of living, with bills spiralling out of control and pensioners travelling on buses all day just to keep warm – alongside an energy security crisis, while we in the UK currently have the leakiest homes in Europe – we need big, bold, positive solutions.
Independent 15th May 2022 read more »
A raft of “incoherent” government policy decisions such as tacitly agreeing to build new coal mines, expanding oil and gas production, and cutting passenger duty on domestic air travel are undermining the UK’s net zero agenda, underscoring the need for far more coordination and clarity from Whitehall on how the UK intends to meet its climate goals. That is the damning assessment today from the Institute for Government (IfG), which points to a glaring lack of joined-up green policymaking from central government over the past year or so, which has resulted in counterproductive tax policies, stop-start subsidy programmes, and weak green building standards. It specifically highlights recent decisions from the government to tacitly support development of a new coking coal mine in Cumbria, a hugely controversial project given the government’s global calls to drive down coal production when hosting the COP26 Summit in Glasgow last year. Other decisions criticised for failing to align with the government’s climate priorities include plans to issue new licenses for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea and to invest billions of pounds in new roads up and down the country.
Business Green 19th May 2022 read more »