Britain is not taking the action required to prevent climate catastrophe
RUNAWAY climate change is the single greatest threat to our survival and, in our response to avert catastrophic global warming, perhaps also the single greatest opportunity to reshape our society.
But so far the plans announced to tackle it and reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases fall well short of what is needed. Despite the fanfare about the “historic” Paris agreement reached in late 2015, the workings of the deal leave much to be sorted out later on.
Countries are left to come up with their own plans for how much they intend to do. Yet only one (Morocco) intends to do its “fair share” of the work to limit warming to 1.5°C, and only five to limit warming to 2°C, according to the Climate Action Tracker group.
Britain is not among them. Six years ago ministers admitted that the country was on course to miss the emissions targets for 2023-27. In those six years the government has not set out how it plans to get Britain back on track and the Clean Growth Strategy published yesterday changes nothing.
It is, however, a good example of the Tories’ usual deception. They’ve made pleasant-sounding noises but the actual proposals will make barely a dent.
Its role as political greenwash is obvious. No mention is made of onshore wind — the cheapest form of renewable power, but nonsensically opposed by the Tories — and a trade magazine wonders if solar has become a “dirty word.”
Nor is there a consideration of Heathrow expansion. Existing plans are already a sop to aviation, with emissions from planes steady from 2005 to 2050 while other transport emissions are cut by 85 per cent. A new runway will increase aviation emissions.
Nor of fracking for shale gas, on which the Tories have overruled local councils to ensure it goes ahead. Nor of the £15 billion Road Investment Strategy, which has increased car use, or its planned second phase.
And of course the whole thing rests on an expanded economy when it is clear that we must redistribute and reshape the wealth we already have.
Our path out of the climate crisis is clear — the Tories do not intend to follow it.