Guest essay by Eric Worrall
You would think a country with rapidly worsening rates of child poverty would have other priorities than worrying about what the weather will be like in 50 years time.
Climate change: UK ‘can cut emissions to nearly zero’ by 2050
By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst
The UK should lead the global fight against climate change by cutting greenhouse gases to nearly zero by 2050, a report says.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) maintains this can be done at no added cost from previous estimates.
Its report says that if other countries follow the UK, there’s a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise by 2100.
A 1.5C rise is considered the threshold for dangerous climate change.
Here are some of the report’s recommendations for individuals.
We need to insulate our homes much better, probably with help from the Treasury. Some of us will use heat pumps, which are a sort of reverse refrigeration technology that sucks warmth from the ground.
The committee expects consumer bills to rise at first, then fall as a newer, cheaper electricity generators are introduced.
The report also has one controversial recommendation: to turn down the home thermostat to 19C [66F] in winter.
The aviation industry is trying to bring down the cost of making jet fuels from a variety of waste materials.
The CCC says this won’t be enough. It warns that the number of flights we take is increasing, and predicts that the government will have to find ways to constrain this.
The committee notes many people are already eating less red meat for the health of the planet and themselves.
It says that people can reduce their dietary emissions by 35% if they transition from a high-meat diet to a low-meat diet.
But it only predicts a 20% drop in meat consumption by 2050 – which it admits is a conservative assumption.
The report also says people can take the following steps to reduce their emissions:
- Choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport instead of a car
- Choosing LED light-bulbs and electric appliances with high energy efficiency ratings
- Setting the water temperature in their heating systems to no higher than 55C [131F]
- Eating a healthy diet, with less beef, lamb and dairy
- Eliminating food waste as far as possible
- Using only peat-free compost
- Choosing good quality products that last longer – and sharing rather than buying items, like power tools, that you use infrequently
- Checking your pension funds and ISAs to see if your investments support low-carbon industries
The UK Government Backed Committee on Climate Change Report is available here.
When I lived in the UK, well outside the London bubble, I personally witnessed shocking levels of poverty.
The people who produced this report have absolutely no idea how ordinary people live. The 37% of families with children who are living in poverty don’t have any spare cash to pay higher consumer bills. Sharing power tools is an easy way to lose them. The last thing poor people need is even less access to meat, less access to high calorie high protein food; thanks to soaring fuel poverty caused by those climate action inflated consumer bills, meat is already a luxury for some families in Britain.