This Guardian article appears today in the campaigning progressive newspaper’s ‘Green Light’ feature, a regular compilation of environmental news. The article celebrates the final acceptance of the UK government that attempting to move towards a carbon-free future is in the interests of business prosperity, not against it. In the same feature, however ,are two more less positive articles:
- ‘The war on coal is over’: EPA boss to roll back Obama’s clean power rules
The EPA is the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency and it is making yet another of the moves by the Trump administration to undo the policies (Paris Climate Agreement; Obama-care; Iran Nuclear deal; TPTP; NAFTA) put in place or supported by Trump’s predecessor Obama.
The UK Conservative government’s step-change of policy towards clean energy to curb emissions of fossil fuel pollution stand in stark contrast to what is happening in the western world’s biggest polluter ‘sovereign nation’ that Trump claims to be making great again. In the foreword of the UK Plan, embattled Prime Minister Theresa May writes: “Clean growth is not an option, but a duty we owe to the next generation. Success in this mission will improve our quality of life and increase our economic prosperity.” This signals a change from the ‘business-as-usual’ paradigm, although the commitment to ‘growth as accelerating GDP’ is not questioned. The next big step would be to espouse the notion of ‘growth as seeking equilibrium and equity’ in order to adapt society for a future within planetary boundaries.
One crucial target not included in any government strategies anywhere is that of achieving a zero carbon economy by 2050. This is necessary if the inadequate limit of 1.5 – 2.0 C global warming beyond pre-industrial levels is to be achieved by 2100. Yesterday I watched Prof. Kevin Anderson’s provocative lecture at Stockholm University on the urgent need for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. He left his august audience in little doubt that even the step-change in UK policy, though welcome, is only the smallest step in the right direction. And as for Trump’s vindictive rolling back or Obama’s attempts to roll back fossil fuel pollution ….? Or development banks’ continuing massive investment in expanding fossil fuel extraction, use and pollution ….?