Much has been made of Boris Johnson’s purported green credentials. They are in his blood, it is claimed. His father is an environmentalist, he says, while his brother Leo is a sustainability expert. At Oxford he even introduced himself as “a green Tory”, it was alleged in the Times last week. It sounds impressive, though it remains to be seen how well Johnson’s passion for protecting the environment and for combatting climate change will serve him over the next few weeks. His green badge of honour faces a testing time. Next year, Britain will host one of the most important international summits ever staged. In November, in Glasgow, delegates will gather for the Cop26 climate meeting to debate how different nations will introduce strict emission cuts in order to implement the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming at a relatively safe level. That concordant has been under constant attack by Donald Trump who claims it is “ridiculous and extremely expensive” and harmful to industry. Johnson has uttered not a single word of defence against this invective despite the fact it is intended to undermine the summit Britain will be hosting. Johnson has a duty to do all he can to ensure Cop26 succeeds. His silence is an ominous warning that he does not accept such responsibility and is more interested in appeasing Trump. Nuclear power plants are expensive, with high front-end construction costs, and that often leads to projects being axed. Nevertheless, the shrinkage of UK nuclear aspirations has not arrived abruptly. Plant cancellations have been accruing over the past decade with little sign that the government appreciates the impending crisis. Now it has arrived. It remains to be seen how Johnson will deal with it. Government sources say Johnson is planning to make a major speech on the environment in the next few weeks and is expected to unveil a vision of how to “build back green” after the coronavirus crisis has abated. Given the catalogue of green bungles and lost opportunities that have unfolded during his premiership, his words should make interesting reading.
Observer 20th Sept 2020 read more »
If you’re heartsore at the quadruple crisis of the mismanaged pandemic, the resultant financial catastrophe grinding down so many people, the climate chaos dramatically evident in unprecedented fires in the west, hurricanes in the southeast, and melting ice in Greenland and the poles, and the corruption, human rights abuses, and creeping authoritarianism of the current regime, you’re not alone. Responding could bring about a more just society, Hawaii senator Brian Schatz recently tweeted: “Too much of the climate movement of the past was about what climate change is doing to us, and not about what climate action will do for us. Taking action does not require austerity and scarcity. Done well, it will result in more wealth, more fairness, and better jobs. We already have many of the technologies needed to avert catastrophe. We just need the American optimism and the political will to deploy them on an unprecedented scale. What we are describing is a future with an improved quality of life, more fairness, and better products. If we do this right, the people and communities that have been treated unfairly, exposed to chronic pollution, and left out of progress in the past stand to gain the most.”
Guardian 19th Sept 2020 read more »