Article Round-up: Is the government serious about climate change?
In the run-up to the COP26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow in November, TTL’s Julia Waterlow brings together some compelling recent articles examining the true level of action on climate change by the UK government.
Since 1990 the UK has achieved a 37% reduction of its territorial CO2 emissions, which does sound impressive. But very little of this has been due to government climate policy and more to do with the move away from using coal for power.
It is also the case that these numbers do not include emissions from aviation, shipping and those associated with imports and exports. If you take into account such things as our air travel and the many imported goods from countries like China the reduction is closer to 10%, according Tyndall Manchester, the climate change research team at the University of Manchester.
Products including clothing, processed foods and electronics imported into the UK are counted as the manufacturing country’s emissions, not the UK’s – although they would not have been produced were it not for UK demand. These emissions account for 46% of the UK’s carbon footprint yet are not currently covered by national reporting or included in the UK’s net zero target.
So in the run-up to the COP 26 talks, we’ve gleaned some of the best articles we can find about what government policy really is on climate change. Some are a few years old – but still very relevant:
- The nine green policies killed off by the Tory government” – The Guardian, July 2015
- Conservative government climate policy is more dangerous than one of open denial – LSE Blog, April 2019
- What Boris Johnson’s government needs to do to show it is serious on climate change – The Conversation, December 2019
- £250bn: the cost of giving tax breaks to North Sea oil firms – The Ferret, February 2020
Tories’ ‘toothless’ UK policies failing to halt drastic loss of wildlife – The Guardian, June 2021