One of the abiding images of an otherwise sterile campaign has been that of a melting block of ice replacing Boris Johnson in a television studio. The climate emergency was supposed to be one of the big issues of the general election. Yet in spite of Channel 4’s efforts to galvanise the parties, it has figured only intermittently, even though opinion polls suggest that the environment has shot up the list of voters’ priorities. Across Europe, the forces of populism, from the gilets jaunes in France to the AfD in Germany, embrace the “real jobs for real men” agenda of preserving polluting heavy industry and ingratiating themselves with the car lobby. One of the reasons Johnson has cited for leaving the EU is that we will no longer be held to its environmental standards. He has disparaged climate change protesters, seeking (as others do) to portray them as metropolitan and effete. Yet the more global warming affects citizens’ real lives, the more he will come under pressure to force through policies that will involve sacrifices. As they criss-crossed the country on the final day, the party leaders will not have paid much attention to two pieces of news – Time magazine’s naming of Greta Thunberg as its person of the year and the unveiling by the European Commission’s new president of a new green deal for the EU. In five years, or whenever the next general election is held, the planet’s crisis will have worsened yet further. One can only hope that by then politicians will have changed their priorities to reflect the biggest danger of them all.
Times 12th Dec 2019 read more »
The Conservative election campaign has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from wealthy investors in the global fossil fuels industry, according to a new analysis by Unearthed. Some of the companies and projects benefiting from donors’ investments are opening up new fossil fuel reserves – even as the world battles climate change and the UK prepares to host a crunch summit next year. One of the Tory’s major donors also runs a hedge fund that holds significant investments in a major weapons manufacturer and a mining giant. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have taken a significant donation from a subsidiary of a hedge fund that has a major stake in the energy firm being blamed for California’s deadly wildfires and another stake in a French oil services firm. The analysis looked at donations to political parties over £50,000 during the first three weeks of the election campaign and the financial holdings of investment companies, as collected and presented by Bloomberg.
Unearthed 11th Dec 2019 read more »