This week (27/28 Nov 2018) I attended two conferences in London: the New Zealand High Commission event on the Impact of Climate Change in the Pacific and the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) Net Zero conference.

I was photographed with Michael Liebreich, one of the panel members on shipping at the CEN conference (above).

A heartfelt video was shown at the NZ conference, but I’m afraid the whole thing was short on plausible, workable solutions. As usual, I pointed out that 140 million people join the middle class every year (Brookings) – that’s another China every ten years – so personal sacrifices alone will not save us. I explained how Carbon Fee & Dividend (the CCL emissions tax solution to climate change) works to a couple of people afterwards who said they would get in touch. I must remember to practice my spiel, in order to do a better job in a public comment.

The CEN conference was more informed, with several mentions of carbon pricing. They said there was strong resistance to border carbon adjustments from trade lawyers, who say this will disrupt many existing trade mechanisms. However, I was heartened to hear Michael Liebreich say “A conservative principle is Polluter Pays!”

It was interesting to hear about plans for new ships to be powered by hydrogen, ammonia or even just wind, but resistance is apparently being met by shipyards, most of which are in Asia.

Even the CEN conference seemed mostly hope-based, once again on a distant target being reached – net-zero by 2050.

At the end I jumped up to grab the keynote speaker, Lord Deben (John Gummer, chair of the independent Committee on Climate Change which advises the government) before he got inundated. I asked him how we could best support government initiatives to introduce a rebated carbon tax. He said we needed to reach into the existing big groups such as WWF and Friends of the Earth, to educate them.

On my way out, the young CEN Director invited me to join CEN (£20/annum), saying I would “get invited to parties”. I learned they were all off to one at the Shard, and wondered if I could afford that lifestyle, and whether people would want to discuss carbon pricing at them.

Post by Clive Elsworth, co-founder of CCL UK.