Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Ed Miliband, who served an unremarkable two years as secretary of state for energy and climate change under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, has just demanded real climate action.
Our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay
Sat 31 Jul 2021 01.30 AEST
Nothing is more dangerous than the illusion of action – which is all that the British government is offering
Future generations will look back on the climate events of 2021 and say: “That was the year they ran out of excuses.”
Heatwaves and flooding here in the UK, temperatures topping 50C in Pakistan, hundreds killed by a heatwave in British Columbia, deadly floods in Germany and China. All within a single month. Add to that the recent dire warning from the Met Office that the age of extreme weather has just begun.
The wake-up call that this offers is not just the obvious one: that climate breakdown is already here. It also illustrates that we, in this generation, are in a unique position in the history of this crisis. Climate breakdown can no longer be plausibly denied as a threat etched only in the future. And all too soon, avoiding it may be a luxury lost to the past. The window to avoid catastrophe is closing with every passing day. We’re in the decisive decade in this fight, and we must treat the climate crisis as an issue that stands alone in the combination of its urgency and the shadow it casts over future generations.
The accompanying truth is that our biggest enemy is no longer climate denial but climate delay. The most dangerous opponents of change are no longer the shrinking minority who deny the need for action, but the supposed supporters of change who refuse to act at the pace the science demands. As Bill McKibben, environmentalist and climate scholar, says on climate: “Winning slowly is the same as losing.”
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jul/30/climate-denial-delay-inaction-british-government
If you look at a graph of UK CO2 emissions, it looks like UK has successfully decoupled CO2 emissions from GDP growth. But this is an illusion.
The reality is, emissions from inside the UK are only half the story. According to the Britain’s own Government Office of National Statistics, Britain is not reducing emissions, they are outsourcing emissions to other countries. The CO2 emissions required to power the UK economy still occur, they just largely occur in other places.
Britain now G7’s biggest net importer of CO2 emissions per capita, says ONS
Fall in UK-produced emissions has been offset by those from increase in imported products
Economics correspondent @RJPartington
Tue 22 Oct 2019 02.27 AEDT
Britain has contributed to the global climate emergency by outsourcing its carbon emissions to developing nations, according to official figures, despite managing to weaken the domestic link between fossil fuels and economic growth.
The Office for National Statistics said the UK had become the biggest net importer of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the G7 group of wealthy nations – outstripping the US and Japan – as a result of buying goods manufactured abroad.
The ONS warned that Britain had increased its net imports of CO2 emissions per capita from 1.7 tonnes in 1992 to 5.1 tonnes in 2007, offsetting domestic progress on shifting the UK economy away from fossil fuels.
According to the ONS study, China was the biggest single source of Britain’s imported emissions, as the UK ramped up purchases of goods such as mobile phones made in the Asian country, where labour costs are lower and pollution regulations less stringent. The second biggest contributor to imported emissions was the EU, followed by the US.
The ONS warned that environmental damage could not be stopped by nation’s simply relocating the production of goods from advanced to developing nations.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/oct/21/britain-is-g7s-biggest-net-importer-of-co2-emissions-per-capita-says-ons
Sorry Ed, but your call to action seems just as fake and lightweight as all the others.
Until Britain addresses their gross CO2 emissions outsourcing hypocrisy, by freezing imports from high carbon economies, until Britain makes a genuine attempt to onshore and power energy intensive manufacturing from their own renewable energy fleet, nobody should take Britain’s noisy two faced holier than thou climate grandstanding seriously.
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