None of this is Working
John Gummer’s latest (and last) Committee on Climate Change report has just dropped and it’s damning. It says we’re falling behind and nowhere close to enough on all fronts in tackling the climate crisis and this is caused by the total vacuum of political leadership at the heart of the British government. The headlines are: “UK has made ‘no progress’ on climate plan, say government’s own advisers”.
Incredibly fewer homes were insulated last year under the government-backed scheme than the year before, despite soaring energy bills and a cost of living crisis. There is pitiful progress on transport emissions, and no coherent programme for behaviour change (there’s a surprise).
The report also found:
The number of homes receiving energy efficiency improvements under the government’s Energy Company Obligation scheme more than halved, from 383,700 in 2021 to 159,600 in 2022. At least 1m to 2m homes should be upgraded each year to meet net zero.
Homes are still being built that will need to be retrofitted with low-carbon heating and efficiency measures, because the government has not yet brought in its promised future homes standard.
No decision on whether to use hydrogen for home heating will be made until 2026, leaving households and boiler companies in complete limbo.
Emissions from transport have remained “stubbornly high” as the government has “made a political choice” to allow an increase in road traffic, instead of encouraging people on to public transport.
There is no clear policy to decarbonise steel production, or emissions from other heavy industries.
In a letter from Lord Deben (Gummer), Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, to Rishi Sunak about the 2023 Progress Report he bemoaned “The failure to act decisively in response to the energy crisis and build on the success of hosting COP26 means that the UK has lost its clear global climate leadership.” This idea of the success of COP26 or of Britain’s ‘climate leadership’ is a Tory myth and an appeal to national hubris. He also complained about the ‘Inaction has been compounded by continuing support for further unnecessary investment in fossil fuels.’ Like, No Shit Sherlock.
The illusion of action, the mythology that meaningful change is underway is laid bare.
Climate Denialism and Pandemic Disinformation
Meanwhile (h/t to Leo Hickman) a letter to the Daily Telegraph has revealed for the first time the names and numbers of the tiny grouping of climate-sceptic UK parliamentarians who call themselves the “Net Zero Scrutiny Group”. There’s no surprises:
The Telegraph splashed with a front-page ‘scoop’ from the “Net Zero Scrutiny Group” clearly designed to distract from the Committee on Climate Change’s damning report But as John Bye has pointed out there’s an interesting crossover between the Net Zero Scrutiny Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group ‘Pandemic Response and Recovery’.
This crossover includes such luminaries as Esther McVey (Chair), Sammy Wilson (Vice Chair), Iain Duncan Smith, Baroness Foster of Oxton, and Lord Strathcarron.
The APPG group has some interesting backers. As Byline Times reported the group is “being funded and managed by Collateral Global – the successor organisation to the ‘Great Barrington Declaration’ (GBD), established by two of its co-founders, Oxford epidemiologist Professor Sunetra Gupta and Ministry of Defence contractor Alex Caccia.”
“The GBD is a pandemic disinformation group backed by the Koch climate science denial network, known for promoting a ‘herd immunity by natural infection’ approach to the Coronavirus crisis.”
Baroness Foster was conferred a Life Peerage after a nomination by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as part of the 2020 Political Honours. In January 2021, she was elevated to the Lords as Baroness Foster of Oxton. Not to be confused with Baroness Fox (aka Claire Fox, aka Claire Foster), also a great Koch enthusiast, also present.
This convergence between the far-right, libertarian conspiracism and climate denialism is not a coincidence.
The APPG on Pandemic Response & Recovery was, until recently, run by two HART members who seem to support their colleague Michael Yeadon’s claim that covid vaccines are part of a plot to depopulate the Earth.
One of them now works for Esther McVey. 😳https://t.co/n0VYfoGQMi
— John Bye (@_johnbye) June 28, 2023
The APPG also include Labour MP Graham Stringer who is a trustee of the Koch-connected Global Warming Policy Foundation, Britain’s most prominent climate science denial lobby group which takes funds from fossil fuels companies.
Stringer has denied the IPCC’s conclusion that humans are the dominant cause of current climate change. So has his colleague in the APPG, the DUP’s Sammy Wilson, that human-induced climate change is a “myth based on dodgy science”.
Today’s revelations will be no real new news to anyone. We all knew this anyway, but now it’s official, laid out by the government;s own committee. While we are led to believe that progress is being made and everything is in hand, the government is actually going backwards, introducing anti-climate policies so that nothing can change.