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Boris Johnson at the launch of the UK-hosted COP26 UN Climate Summit at the Science Museum, London on February 4, 2020. Photo by Jeremy Selwyn - WPA Pool/Getty Images.

The timing of many trade negotiations is now increasingly uncertain, as are the UK’s plans to host COP26 in November. Policy work continues, however, and the EU has released its draft negotiating text for the new UK-EU trade deal, which includes a sub-chapter specifically devoted to climate.

This is a timely reminder both of the pressing need for the UK to integrate its trade and climate policymaking and to use the current crisis-induced breathing space in international negotiations - however limited - to catch up on both strategy and priorities on this critical policy intersection.

The UK government has moved fast to reset its external trade relations post-Brexit.…  Seguir leyendo »

Extinction Rebellion members during climate protests in London last week. Frank Augstein/Associated Press

On April 15, thousands of activists from a movement called Extinction Rebellion started occupying several sites in central London, shutting down major roads and demanding the country’s politicians take immediate, drastic action in the face of climate change.

For more than a week, the streets were awash with an infectious sort of hope. Beyond the potent symbol of popular power represented by their presence in the heart of the city, activists and passers-by had the chance to experiment with collective politics. Yes, there were camera-worthy stunts and impossible-to-ignore disruptions of business as usual. But people also assembled, broke into discussion groups and returned with proposals.…  Seguir leyendo »

We non-media-savvy scientists at the University of East Anglia have learnt a hard lesson this week — the truth is not enough in the face of a media-savvy enemy.

Character assassination is a purely diversionary tactic, but in the hacked e-mails affair it has been spectacularly successful.

How many of us would emerge unscathed if all our private e-mails over 20 years were opened by someone determined to prove that we were up to no good? The hackers have picked choice phrases out of context — and context is all: without it, these statements look awful. In the one most quoted, the director of the Climate Research Unit (CRU), Phil Jones, talks about using a “trick” to “hide the decline”.…  Seguir leyendo »

"The Road to Copenhagen” may sound like the title of a clunky old Bob Hope film, but it’s actually an entertainment-free document from the Government mapping out “the case for an ambitious international agreement on climate change”.

There’s nothing new in this manifesto published yesterday, but it’s as powerful a piece of government advocacy on climate change as any I’ve seen — providing further compelling evidence that Ed Miliband’s role as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is beginning to deliver the goods.

There are now less than six months to go before world leaders gather in Copenhagen to seek a new global agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lord Turner has two jobs. The first, as chair of the Financial Services Authority, is to save capitalism. The second, as chair of the committee on climate change, is to save the biosphere from the impacts of capitalism. I have no idea how well he is discharging the first task, but if his approach to the second one is anything to go by, you should dump your shares and buy gold.

His climate change report, published yesterday, is long, detailed and impressive. It has the admirable objective of trying to cap global warming at two degrees or a little more. This, it says, means that greenhouse gas pollution in the UK should fall by 80% by 2050 and by 31% by 2020.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Jeremy Leggett, author of Half Gone: Oil, Gas, Hot Air and the Global Energy Crisis (THE GUARDIAN, 25/10/07):

When Britain and Germany raced to scale up their aircraft industries for war in the 1930s, the British competed rather well. Recovering from a late start, we rapidly produced machines capable of winning the Battle of Britain.Today, the two nations are on the same side in a different battle, but Germany alone is mobilising as fast as it did 70 years ago. Our common enemy is global warming, and it is already at our gates. But while our German allies are turning out the renewable energy equivalents of Messerschmitts by the factory-load, Britain is again slow to spring into action.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Anatole Kaletsky (THE TIMES, 11/01/07):

For once, I agree and sympathise with Tony Blair. Like the Prime Minister, I do a great deal of flying, for business and pleasure, and I haven’t the slightest intention of altering my travel plans in any way. Mr Blair’s one mistake in flying to Florida for a family holiday was to offer a half-baked apology. He would have much done more good, for the global environment and for the quality of public debate in Britain, by sticking to his original position, pithily summarised by The Guardian’s front-page headline on Tuesday: “Carry on flying, says Blair — science will save the planet”.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Douglas Alexander, secretary of state for transport of United Kingdom (THE GUARDIAN, 22/12/06):

George Monbiot asserts that the EU emissions trading scheme is a red herring (Ministers know emissions trading is a red herring and won't work, December 19). The truth is the argument that he puts - that Britain should, or could, tackle aviation emissions on its own - is the diversion.There is no question that combating climate change is the most serious challenge we as a society face, and that aviation has a key role to play. Monbiot's position on aviation, as he explained two months ago (Drastic action on climate change is needed now - and here's the plan, October 31), is to cut the UK's aviation capacity by 90%.…  Seguir leyendo »

By George Monbiot (THE GUARDIAN, 19/12/06):

I suppose I should be flattered. In a speech to fellow airline bosses a few days ago, Martin Broughton, the chief executive of British Airways, announced that the primary challenge for the industry is to "isolate the George Monbiots of this world". That shouldn't be difficult. For a terrifying spectre, I'm feeling pretty lonely. Almost everyone in politics appears to want to forget about aviation's impact on the environment.On Wednesday the secretary of state for communities launched a bold plan to make new homes more energy efficient. She claims it will save 7m tonnes of carbon.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Giovanni Bisignani, director-general and chief executive officer of the International Air Transport Association (THE GUARDIAN, 22/11/06):

It is disappointing that the debate on aviation's role in climate change is guided more by emotion than facts. George Monbiot's call for a freeze on all new airport construction, and the introduction of a national quota for landing slots, is a case in point (Drastic action on climate change is needed now - and here's the plan, October 31).He lays much of the blame for climate change at aviation's door, but he ignores some basic truths. UN scientists from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimate aviation's contribution to global carbon emissions to be just 2%.…  Seguir leyendo »

By George Monbiot (THE GUARDIAN, 31/10/06):

It is a testament to the power of money that Nicholas Stern's report should have swung the argument for drastic action, even before anyone has finished reading it. He appears to have demonstrated what many of us suspected: that it would cost much less to prevent runaway climate change than to seek to live with it. Useful as this finding is, I hope it doesn't mean that the debate will now concentrate on money. The principal costs of climate change will be measured in lives, not pounds. As Stern reminded us yesterday, there would be a moral imperative to seek to prevent mass death even if the economic case did not stack up.…  Seguir leyendo »

By George Monbiot (THE GUARDIAN, 21/09/06):

You have to pinch yourself. Until now the Sun has denounced environmentalists as "loonies" and "eco beards". Last week it published "photographic proof that climate change is real". In a page that could have come straight from a Greenpeace pamphlet, it laid down 10 "rules" for its readers to follow: "Use public transport when possible; use energy-saving lightbulbs; turn off electric gadgets at the wall; do not use a tumble dryer ..."

Two weeks ago the Economist also recanted. In the past it has asserted that "Mr Bush was right to reject the prohibitively expensive Kyoto pact".…  Seguir leyendo »

By David Aaronovitch (THE TIMES, 05/09/2006):

Something in me rebels against the idea of preparing for global warming. Such a concession feels treacherous and unnatural, a bit like taking out life insurance on your own children. Even so I could see the logic in what Frances Cairncross, the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, was saying yesterday. Friends of the Earth itself concedes the likelihood and survivability of a two-degree increase in world temperature, so we’d better steel ourselves, do what Ms Cairncross says, and develop new crops and build up sea defences in unlikely places. I will volunteer to help to create “wildlife corridors” for endangered beasts to migrate safely.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Zac Goldsmith, the deputy chair of the Conservative party's quality of life policy group (THE GUARDIAN, 31/08/06):

The Archbishop of Canterbury recently described the economy as "a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment". Calling for an immediate response to climate change, he said "the Earth itself is what ultimately controls economic activity because it is the source of the materials upon which economic activity works".His view, echoed by the likes of Nobel economics laureates Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz among a great many others, is that we need a new type of market economics - an approach that actually takes the planet into account.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Polly Toynbee (THE GUARDIAN, 23/05/06):

From the control tower of the Thames barrier, gaze down on one of London's heroic wonders. Those gigantic silver sails stretching half a mile across the river float above the water, standing guard against the rising risk of flood. Here global warming is measured by how often the steel gates are closed; in 1987, it was only once every two years: now it's four times a year, eight times more often. By the century's end the barrier will close 300 times a year at this pace of climate change.

The river is rising 6.6mm a year, with more storms and extremes as ice caps melt.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Robert Macfarlane, the author of Mountains of the Mind (Granta), which won the Guardian First Book award in 2003. He is currently writing The Wild Places, a book about wildness and the British Isles (THE GUARDIAN, 22/04/06):

Oil was the substance that defined the century just ended; ice will define the one just begun. Frozen in the ice sheets of the globe's high latitudes and the glaciers of its high altitudes are more than 33m cubic kilometres of fresh water. And as the Earth's atmosphere warms, so the cryosphere - that part of the planet constituted by ice - dwindles.…  Seguir leyendo »