Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A tantalising glimpse....

A report this week in The Guardian (Europe's climate change goals 'need profound lifestyle changes') gives a tantalising glimpse of what might be in store in Europe on action against climate change following the Paris Agreement. It's tantalising because the report is about a leaked document from European commission. Because it is not yet published, what we know about it is confined to what is in the Guardian article and that is very scant.

However, I am encouraged for two reasons. Firstly, I am struggling to work out just how far-reaching will be the lifestyle changes needed to reduce the threat from climate change to acceptable proportions and the report, when it is finally published, should help me on my way. Secondly, this seems to be a rare example of an official document recognising that far-reaching changes will be necessary. Not long ago, the message from on-high seemed to be that climate change was a serious problem but all would be well as long as we didn't leave our televisions on stand-by.

My joy is damped by two thoughts. One is about possible Brexit, which, if it happens, could release our Government from any climate-related obligations coming from the EU. The second is about the ability of the EU to agree on necessary action, particularly following the recent change in government in Poland. The Guardian this week has a long article about the party now in charge in Poland and it's not comforting reading. I'm no expert on EU procedures but I have a feeling that the new Polish government will strain every sinew to try and stop any effective action by the EU against climate change.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Paris Agreement and the Committee on Climate Change

When I wrote my blog post a couple of weeks ago on the implications of the Paris Agreement, I was looking forward to seeing how the Committee on Climate Change would respond. Last week it gave its first response, as you can see from this report from The Guardian.

The main thrust of the response was to reaffirm its recommended fifth carbon budget for the UK covering the period 2028-32. This has disappointed some climate activists and made me curious to see what was the committee's logic. Given the major gaps in my knowledge, I found the committee's letter to Amber Rudd interesting and informative, particularly the Annex.