I felt rather privileged on my walk this morning, spotting four roe deer and two frogs. And a Bill. Actually this latter beast was found on the House of Commons website, and it’s called the Climate and Ecology Bill, presented by Caroline Lucas, the Green MP from Brighton. It’s fine so far as it goes, but it is what may be described as a ‘bouquet’ climate measure, which is to say it has lots of parts, all desirable, but which don’t necessarily add up to much more than desirable objectives which would still fall short of its desired result, which is, presumably, to contain first and foremost climate heating. Sadly, it takes as its cue the Paris Agreement of 2015:
‘The objectives in tackling the climate and ecological emergency are to ensure that the United Kingdom— (a) reduces its anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (‘emissions’) at 10 a rate that would be consistent with keeping the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, in accordance with the provisions of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, taking into account— (i) the United Kingdom’s greenhouse gas footprint, and (ii) the United Kingdom’s and other countries’ common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities, given national circumstances.’ (emphasis added)
I am sad to report that when you introduce the phrase ‘given national circumstances’ you write an open cheque for countries to do what ever it is they think they might plausibly get away with. It is just one, and possibly the greatest defect of the Paris Agreement. I am sorry that Caroline has chosen to use the Paris Agreement as her benchmark for this Bill. I suppose the politics of it mean that she could garner greater cross party support for it in the UK, but sadly I didn’t find a single Tory MP supporting it. As a private members bill it has little chance of progressing, not least since it concerns such a wide topic. Despite my reservations, I wish it were otherwise—but I know from first hand experience what the general utility of private member’s bills is.
P.S. Nicola Sturgeon is innocent! OK?
Interesting that you see a bill that Extinction Rebellion blocked streets to support as not radical enough. Just reading some of your 2009 Commons speeches and thinking perceptions haven't moved on as far as we'd like. As I see it, one of the main aim of the Bill is to strengthen the Climate Change Act by not allowing targets to be missed by planning on speculative negative emissions. The section you quote also suggests that zero emissions may need to be much sooner than 2050: 2035 in a paper by Kevin Anderson and 2030-2035 in Tim Jackson.
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