Lord Deben (Chair of the Climate Change Committee and John ‘Let them eat hamburgers’ Gummer as was) has told the BBC that there needs to be a ‘mechanism’ for richer countries to help poorer ones meet the climate change crisis. Good for him, he’s been aware of such a mechanism for donkeys’ years, it’s called Contraction and Convergence, and for political reasons it’s been rejected over and over again. He was briefly interviewed after today’s release of the latest UN report on climate change science, which it turns out is our final, final warning, or ‘Code Red’ as the UN secretary general described it. Deben says on the one hand that he has absolutely no doubt that Johnson is committed to addressing the climate crisis, but then goes on to say that targets have to be met with action. In other words, Johnson’s action is inadequate, and as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. But of course Deben is a Tory, and he has to mince his words if he wants to sound in the least bit credible to his colleagues. That’s just one way in which everything is watered down. Deben might just about justify his existence if he called out Johnson and Co. for what they are. Wankers. Still, we can’t have it all, can we?
I sent a letter to the Guardian a few days ago, but it’s not been published. Self explanatory, I think:
Kier Starmer is quite right to say that Boris Johnson is ‘missing in action’ in dealing with climate change. But in terms of Labour’s commitments, I was left wondering precisely how these would address the global crisis. Yes, of course we want a Green New Deal, with all that that entails in speeding up new technology and the development of skills. But how often have we heard that? Starmer seems to have missed the point of Labour’s Climate Change Act 2008 which was based on the notion that these commitments relate to our share of the global problem. The Act was based on the principle that without a fully equitable solution, other countries will simply assume that the West will do what it feels necessary for itself and neglect to help others. This is precisely why India walked away from the most recent talks. The point is to recognise per capita carbon emissions (or lack of them) and ensure that any climate change framework takes into account the global imbalance.
As things stand Johnson is no worse than any other western leader, who promises great things and then doesn’t deliver. Hence, the climate change fund promised at the Copenhagen COP meeting in 2009 hasn’t been delivered, and as the crisis has become critical there is still no likelihood it will be, as developed countries will face greater pressures to spend on domestic adaptation. The principle behind the Climate Change Act, that is our underlying acknowledgement of what our global responsibility really is and most importantly how that is to be calculated, should be at the heart of the COP26 talks. As it is, Kier Starmer didn’t even mention it.
They’re all running scared.