G20 leaders forced to water down climate targets
The Australian, 1 November 2021
Global ambitions for aggressive climate change action have been dealt a blow after Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden failed to win support on new coal, methane and net zero pledges at the G20 summit.
The rejection of British, French and US backed resolutions at the Rome summit signalled a shattering of consensus ahead of the UN climate change conference beginning in Glasgow on Monday.
More than 20,000 people have assembled in the Scottish city for the COP26 summit, where Mr Johnson had hoped to usher in a new era of global co-operation on emissions reduction and climate change.
The final G20 communique released late Sunday revealed a softening in language around net-zero emissions by 2050 targets, with carbon neutrality goals watered down after negotiations to say “by or around mid-century”.
Despite calls to end coal-fired power generation by 2030, the G20 leaders could only agree that countries who “commit to phasing out investment in new unabated coal power generation capacity do so as soon as possible”. A vague reference was included about ending international public finance for new coal generation abroad by the end of the year.
President Biden said on Sunday that the world can’t immediately stop using oil and said OPEC and Russia need to pump more of it, even as he pushes the world to pledge to cut climate-changing carbon emissions at the Glasgow climate summit this week.
After three days of meeting with world leaders in Rome, where he attended the G-20 summit, Biden said he is worried that surging energy costs are hurting working class families.
Biden said the idea that Russia, Saudi Arabia and other producers are holding back to boost prices “is not right.” With gas prices averaging $3.40 a gallon in the US, according to AAA, Biden said families are feeling it.
COP26: Joe Biden accuses Russia and China of climate change failure
The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2021
Joe Biden rounded on Russia and China ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow last night, accusing them of failing to show willingness to tackle climate change.
Addressing reporters after the G20 meeting in Rome, he voiced his regret at what he regarded as Moscow and Beijing’s failure to deliver concrete proposals.
“Not only Russia but China basically didn’t show up in terms of any commitments to deal with climate change. And there’s a reason why people should be disappointed that I found it disappointing myself,” he said.
The amount of electricity produced from coal will increase in the U.S this year for the first time since 2014, according to new data, dealing a blow to President Biden’s climate promises when he arrives in Scotland for a United Nations climate summit on Monday.
Cutting energy production from coal in favor of cleaner natural gas is at the forefront of efforts to tackle global warming, as developed nations tell India and China in particular to clean up.
But a surge in the cost of natural gas has seen the U.S. switching back to coal, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration
It said it expected 22 percent more coal-fired power this year than last year – the first annual increase since 2014.
The details brought fresh criticism from left and right that Biden was in danger of lecturing the developing world to ‘do as I say, not what I do.’
Robert Peston: Has COP 26 already flopped?
The Spectator, 1 November 2021
‘There is no chance of stopping climate change next week,’ the Prime Minister told me in an interview for ITV News. ‘There is no chance of getting an agreement to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees’.
Standing in Rome’s magnificent ancient Colosseum, he warned that the cost of this failure, if not somehow rectified, would be far worse than the recent pandemic: ‘The Romans thought they were going to go on forever…Then wham, the middle of the fifth century, they hit a complete crisis, uncontrolled immigration, you have the Dark Ages. The lesson is things can go backwards… for a long time. Unless we fix climate change, unless we halt that massive growth in temperatures, that’s the risk we run”‘
But if COP 26 has already failed, as the PM seems to be saying – because the world’s biggest emitters are such a long way from promising measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the necessary 55 per cent before 2030 – why on earth are more than 100 world leaders descending on Glasgow for the negotiations?
Also what’s the point of this weekend’s preceding discussions in Rome of the G20 leaders of the world’s most powerful nations? For Boris Johnson, COP 26 is what he calls a ‘weigh station’, a checkpoint on a route towards future agreements that would stand a chance of reducing global warming to a safe increment.
Millions at risk of soaring energy bills as at least ‘another 20’ firms tipped to go under
Daily Express, 31 October 2021
ENERGY bills are likely to skyrocket in the weeks and months to come as energy companies go to the wall, the chairman of an influential Parliamentary committee has warned.
Alan Brown, the SNP’s MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, believes the Government needs to step in to shield the least wealthy from the impact of spiralling prices, emphasising that firms are guaranteed to pass costs on to consumers.
It comes as Scottish Power Chief Executive Keith Anderson claimed Britain’s energy market faces an absolute massacre which could force at least 20 more suppliers into bankruptcy in the next month alone unless the Government reviews the energy price cap.
Majority of Britons do not trust Government’s Net Zero plans
The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2021
The majority of people do not trust the Government to recommend the right solutions for making their home heating, cars and air travel more environmentally friendly.
More than 50 per cent of people polled said they would not trust the Government’s decarbonisation solutions, with 54 per cent sceptical of home heating plans, 55 per cent of air travel and 52 per cent of road travel, including electric cars, according to a survey by Opinium for The Telegraph.
The results underscore the challenge that the Government faces in persuading people to switch their gas boilers for low-carbon options such as heat pumps, or to choose an electric car.
David Quinn: Politicians in denial over cost of going green
The Sunday Times, 31 October 2021
Prepare for a backlash when the public finds out what fighting global warming will really mean at an individual level
A massive 82 per cent of Irish voters have told pollsters they are opposed to increased taxes on energy or fuel to combat climate change. So the chances are high that you are one of those people. But the odds are almost as good that you are also among the 80 per cent of adults who believe that cutting our carbon emissions by at least half between now and 2030 is a great idea.
These are the seemingly contradictory findings of two recent opinion polls on climate policy, one commissioned by The Irish Times and the other by Friends of the Earth. So what’s going on?
The most obvious explanation is “nimbyism”. We all want more houses to be built, but not close to ours. We support additional wind farms, but somewhere we can neither see nor hear them. And we want political action to reduce carbon emissions, but would prefer if someone else paid the price.
By staking out a maximalist position that leaves no room for negotiation, the climate doomsayers guarantee that nothing will get done.
As President Joe Biden limps into Glasgow, there are only two things holding back his big, showy climate agenda: politics and economics.
If you happen to be one of those people who insists that climate change should be “beyond politics,” then you are certainly entitled to the sentiment — but spare us any lectures about “democracy” in the future, because politics is how liberal-democratic societies go about their public business.
And the politics here do not favor dramatic action, whatever is said or notionally agreed to in Glasgow.
Joe Biden and his Democratic allies face the same problem as other would-be climate saviors throughout both the developed world and the poorer countries: There is very little popular support for radical social and economic change in pursuit of climate goals.