This post is by Green Alliance associate Dr Rebecca Willis. It first appeared on her blog.
I can’t stop thinking about sixteen year old Greta Thunberg, speaking with quiet determination to rooms full of powerful people in Davos.
I think that Thunberg has an incredible gift. She summarises, with simplicity and eloquence, what climate scientists have been telling us for a long time: that climate change threatens our future on this planet; and that drastic cuts to emissions are needed, starting now. Read more
“As petroleum came to the relief of the whale,” said an 1878 promotional pamphlet for the world’s first industrial plastic, “so has celluloid given the elephant, the tortoise, and the coral insect a respite in their native haunts, and it will no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer.” Read more
This post is by Dr Ajay Gambhir, senior research fellow at Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of the UK Climate Change Act, the first of a kind legislation to hold a country to a long term greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal. One of its central components, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), is actually a year older than the act itself, having been established in a non-legislated ‘shadow’ form in 2007, to prepare advice on what the act’s long term emissions goal should be and how it could be achieved. Read more
The government published its Road to Zero strategy this week, as a pathway to decarbonise the road transport sector, the source of a quarter of the UK’s annual carbon emissions. The strategy also aims to show how this transition will make Britain a global leader in low carbon vehicles and their associated infrastructure. Read more
We have always known that aviation will be a hard nut to crack in tackling climate change. Digital technology was expected to bring people closer virtually but has had no impact on mitigating air travel which has continued to grow over the past decade. Meanwhile, the aviation industry has felt itself exempt from climate policy, a feeling which must have been emphasised by the limited role that climate considerations played in this week’s decision to expand Heathrow. Read more
On the 16 April, 52 Commonwealth heads of state will gather in London for a biennial summit and the UK will become their official chair in office for the next two years. This role could have major implications for advancing global action on climate change and biodiversity loss. Read more
Scientists are clear that urgent action is needed on climate. At the Paris Summit in 2015, world leaders agreed to limit rises in global temperatures. And yet climate change barely troubles domestic politics. Since then, I’ve interviewed over 20 members of the UK parliament, and one message has emerged with striking clarity: the electorate are not asking their representatives to act. Read more
In her speech in Ottawa yesterday, Theresa May reiterated the UK’s commitment to phasing out unabated coal (ie where emissions are not captured) by 2025. This was the prime minister’s first public statement on climate policy since taking office after the Brexit referendum last year. Although the Conservative manifesto mentioned it, the prime minister has been worryingly tight lipped, leading to concerns about her commitment to climate leadership. Brexit has slowed down domestic policy making, but this statement asserts the UK’s aspiration to be a global climate leader, even as it prepares to leave the EU. Read more
I’m in a café in the House of Commons, talking to a newly-elected MP about climate change. He’s under no illusions about likely impacts. He points out that where we’re sitting, beside the River Thames, could be under water in decades to come. He calls climate change ‘catastrophic’, and looks for every opportunity he can to raise the issue. But his commitment has come at a price: speaking out on climate is, he tells me, a ‘career-limiting move’.