Yesterday Professor Sir Bob Watson, (among other roles former Chair of the IPCC), told the Radio 4 Today programme that the world was heading in the wrong direction to keep to the 1.5C global warming target agreed at the Paris COP in 2015…..”I think most people fear that if we give up on the 1.5C [limit], which I do not believe we will achieve, in fact I’m very pessimistic about achieving even 2C, that if we allow the target to become looser and looser, higher and higher, governments will do even less in the future.”

“The big issue is we need to reduce greenhouse gases now to even be on the pathway to be close to 1.5C or 2C. We need to reduce current emissions by at least 50% by 2030. The trouble is the emissions are still going up, they are not going down,” …..”We need to try and hold governments to start to act sensibly now and reduce emissions, but even governments with a really good target like the United Kingdom don’t have the policies in place, don’t have the financing in place to reach those goals.”

At the lunchtime news bulletin Lord Nicholas Stern, (G Patel Professor of Economics and Government, Chairman of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Head of the India Observatory at the London School of Economics) was adamant that the Government can no longer hide behind the promises made at COP26 to claim that the UK is still a world leader in reducing emissions. 

He pointed out that the rest of the world now sees the UK as a laggard, particularly with the subsequent approval of a coal mine, further oil and gas exploration and the threat of cutting climate finance commitments. The Prime Minister, he stated, needs to give a clear commitment to accelerating the insulation, heat pump and EV infrastructure rollouts –  the cost of inaction will be far bigger than the cost of inaction, higher than the 5-20% global GDP loss he previously predicted and lives will be destroyed (as indeed they are being, right now).

Lord Stern was co-author of Making Carbon Pricing Work for Citizens in 2018 which put the case for a carbon fee and dividend system which would, if implemented, put an end to the claims that getting to Net Zero will hurt people and the economy and that therefore it needn’t be on the government’s priority list.