Should there be zero poverty before net-zero carbon?

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The reactions to the UK government's commitment to N-ZC (net-zero carbon) by 2050 have been pretty positive both here and elsewhere, although it failed to get a mention at last week's parish council (PC) meeting where discussion was (literally and metaphorically) on more parochial matters: think overgrown rights of way and poor signage, the demise of community policing, the protection of local great-crested news, and proper scrutiny of local planning applications.  We do plant trees, however (and the PC has a good record here), but the context for this tends to be commemoratory not mitigatory.

Comment on N-ZC at the national level threw up a number of caveats.  An opposition MP said "too little, too late" and a young person on TV said much the same thing; the young person was sticking out for all this by 2025 which is impossible without an economy car crash, and is yet another reason for more and better economics teaching in schools).  The MP's point was that this should happen before 2050, not by 2050.  I think they meant by 2049.  Such are the games our parliamentarians play.

A less easily dismissed point was made in The Times by Michael J Kelly, Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology, at Cambridge.  He wrote:

"With a net zero carbon emissions target ... the UK is going against the rest of the world for the next two decades, where the priority is the elimination of world poverty and hunger (the first two of the UN sustainable development goals) and which will include 700 new coal-fired power stations built under the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative” alone. The UK emissions reductions will continue to be undone more than 100 times over, so the rhetoric of helping to eliminate climate change is plainly false."

I expect geography teachers across the country to be seizing on this as a stimulus for their next lesson.

More on N-ZC tomorrow ...

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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