Tag: climate change

COP26 didn’t save the world but it helps

Glasgow was not a disaster after all. Neither was it a ringing success. Hopes had been building that the Conference of Parties would have reached an agreement that would get us near to capping global warming at 1.5°C. That target has been missed. The promises will be delivered in Egypt next year at COP27 at the earliest, if at all. But the ambition to limit the temperature rise 1.5°C is still alive and that is an achievement. There have been strides forward and the next COP has been brought forward to next year not the usual five year interval. We need to act quickly.  Climate change is happening not just in developing countries, but here in Europe and in North America.

Is Greta right? Has COP26 failed?

It has been a week of announcements. A week of ambitions. And a week of ambiguities. And according to activist Greta Thunberg, COP26 is nothing other than “blah, blah, blah” and has failed. Is that really the case? It’s rather imperialistic to argue that the countries that are trying to build their per capita wealth and standards of living should now pay for the sins of the most developed countries. The developed countries are responsible for most of the increases in atmospheric carbon. They are richer and have the ability to pay. But the reliance of countries like India and China on coal for electricity and the lack of commitment from Russia risks swamping small countries. Quite literally. There have been achievements on forest clearance, on a mixed bag of net zero targets and on financing. But even if countries keep to their pledges, it still doesn’t stack up to keeping global warming to 1.5°C.   One of the first headlines from the week was a commitment to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Even Brazil, one of the main offenders, signed up. That will be a great achievement if it is delivered. Countries also made…

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Shropshire Conservatives can’t be trusted with the environment or democracy for that matter

The Conservatives have been window dressing their commitment to climate change for a long while. But their policies and actions are as rotten as the compost heaps at the bottom of many people’s gardens. Most Conservatives on Shropshire Council don’t get climate change and don’t get that tackling it is a local emergency as well as a national and international emergency. Their approach to development is fossil fuelled, building huge new roads such as the North West Relief Road and lusting to extend the M54 into Shropshire. They worry that going green will damage the economy not realising that the future of our local economy and of economies everywhere is green. This needs to change. Whoever is in power after today, the council leadership must appoint a cabinet member to whose sole responsibility is tackle the climate emergency, greening the council and greening Shropshire’s economy.

Yesterday was Earth Day – was it also the day we really began to tackle the climate emergency?

Earth Day is now in its 51st year. If Donald Trump had gained a second term, it would have probably gone unnoticed in the Capitol yesterday. But Joe Biden is now leading America and he used the occasion to host an international summit and announce deep cuts in carbon emissions. Pledges came in from leaders across the world. Boris Johnson got his pennyworth in earlier announced that he will set in law “world’s most ambitious climate change target”, cutting emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels in pursuit of zero carbon by 2050. Admirable stuff. More important than the headline figure is that the UK’s Carbon Budget will incorporate our share of international aviation and shipping emissions, which each contribute three to four per cent each to global warming. Are we turning the corner at last in getting the political commitments we need to drive the business and societal changes needed to tackle climate change? Maybe.

We can’t solve climate change and biodiversity loss without solving planning – a view from the grass roots

I am writing from the heart following a battering few years trying to protect biodiversity landscapes from new developments and to get sustainable transport written into housing and supermarket schemes. On biodiversity, all we have got from developments in my expanding rural town is tokenism. Replacement trees within manicured landscapes. Not the untidy scrubby bits of landscape that are or will become biodiversity rich. On sustainable transport, the car remains king. There are no plans for bus routes to serve four major housing developments. The out of town supermarket, with the backing of councillors and planners, doesn’t even have a bus stop. The planning system is working against our national and international ambitions to enrich biodiversity and tackle the climate emergency.

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