Alok Sharma’s article (Time is running short – but we can get a grip on the climate crisis, 18 March) confirmed that this government’s approach to the climate emergency is the same as it is to all the other iniquities its ideology exacerbates, such as poverty, inequality and homelessness. They announce a relatively small injection of cash and a couple of initiatives, careful not to disturb the underlying practices causing the problems. If he and his colleagues were serious and really followed the science, they would end all subsidies to, and investment in, fossil fuel industries. They would also implement curbs to reduce energy and resource consumption, direct and indirect, by the UK population. That would be global leadership and would set a course for a just transition.
The government’s proposals are nothing more than a smokescreen to suggest we tried, while baking in failure for our generation and horror for those that follow.
Alok Sharma’s priorities are depressing in their lack of ambition. His first priority, global net zero, even if achieved, simply establishes the already catastrophic status quo where uncertain weather patterns will remain the norm. Net zero should be regarded as a stepping stone towards the goal of reducing current levels of global temperature via carbon drawdown, a reversal of global warming.
He overlooks a role for regenerative agriculture and diet both in achieving net zero and as a valuable contribution to drawing down historic greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and he also fails to mention plans to prevent the search for new sources of gas and oil – obstacles which impede the aim of achieving net zero. In concentrating on coal, he gives no attention to industry’s reliance upon both oil and gas, which continue to attract government subsidy at home or abroad. One wonders if he really understands the immensity of the task in hand, even in settling for the deteriorating weather patterns we have. Wind energy is mentioned, but solar, tidal and nuclear merit not a word. This is not encouraging.
Stonegrave, North Yorkshire
Alok Sharma’s article was the usual high-sounding stream of aspirations and targets without any recognition of the cost and efforts that will be needed to meet them. This is in stark contrast, for example, to the report of the environmental audit committee on just one aspect – the cost of installing low-carbon heating is estimated at £18,000 per home and there are 19m of them. Add to that the replacement of fossil fuel cars by electric ones, and the sums involved quickly become very challenging indeed.
How does this government propose they be met? I doubt we will ever know, because they are quite incapable of that degree of detailed planning, preferring vacuous bluster.
I’m appalled that the president designate of Cop26 begins his article by detailing some of his recent long-haul flights. Could he not instead have read reports, listened to people from those parts of the world, watched the news or held online meetings?
The rest of his piece trots out the same old stuff about the “world beating” UK. It’s obvious, and very depressing, that Cop26 will be just another session of trumpeting the (rather few) British achievements in this critical field.