UK acting on climate crisis?

UK government accused of "ramshackle, Dad's Army" approach

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Is the government acting like Dad's Army over climate change?

By Daniel J. McLaughlin

The UK's approach to climate change has been called "ramshackle" and the government has been compared to the hapless characters from Dad's Army.

The government's advisors say it is "a real threat to the population".

However, the government has also been praised for changing its target to reduce emissions to net zero by 2050.

The Claim

The UK government's approach to tackling the climate crisis has been likened to the 1970s sitcom, Dad's Army, the Guardian reports.

John Gummer, chair of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), said: "The whole thing is run by the government like a Dad’s Army. We can’t possibly go on with this ramshackle system; it doesn’t begin to face the issues. It is a real threat to the population.

"You need to make real changes to protect people here and now from the climate change that we know is happening.

"We are not even preparing for 2C [rise in global temperature] let alone the position we might be in if the world does not [drive emissions down to zero]."

The CCC assessed government plans for adaptation to the climate crisis in 33 priority areas - and they found that "there are no areas where government is planning properly".

This includes protecting people from heatwaves, flash flooding and other impacts of the climate crisis.

The annual progress reports from the CCC also revealed that "just one of the 25 emissions-cutting policies it said were vital in 2018 had been delivered in full".

The Guardian adds that targets for 2025 and 2030 were "likely to be missed by an even bigger margin than last year".

The Counterclaim

However, the UK government has been praised for adjusting its climate change pledge. In June, Theresa May announced that the government wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, the president of the Royal Society, said the country is leading the way in tackling the climate crisis.

He argues that the upgrade to the Climate Change Act is "another very welcome contribution".

He said: "We must now press on with how we deliver a cleaner, more prosperous economy that sets a global standard.

"There is rightly debate about the costs and practicalities of delivering on decarbonising our economy but that debate must also be informed by the costs of not taking action.

"We must also think about the potential benefits of being a world leader in developing the new technologies that will deliver a low carbon future."

He said that the UK is "at the heart of the global debate", due to the political leadership and "outstanding quality of our science".

Ramakrishnan added: "That is where we want to stay."

The Facts

The government has updated its plans to tackle the climate crisis: it is keeping the same target, but upping the ambition.

Under the Climate Change Act in 2008, MPs agreed that the UK should reduce its emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

However, the UK will now reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero within 31 years. It is the first major nation to propose this target.

The UK was one of nearly 200 countries that signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016. Its main aim is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2C. However, this may not be enough.

In October, the United Nations warned that we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. If global warming increases over 1.5C, it could significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty.

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royalsociety.org

President of the Royal Society comments on UK government's 2050 climate change pledge | Royal Society

In light of the UK government's pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, the President of the Royal Society, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, says:

“The UK is leading the way in policy making to tackle climate change and today’s upgrade to the Climate Change Act is another very welcome contribution. We must now press on with how we deliver a cleaner, more prosperous economy that sets a global standard.

“There is rightly debate about the costs and practicalities of delivering on decarbonising our economy but that debate must also be informed by the costs of not taking action. We must also think about the potential benefits of being a world leader in developing the new technologies that will deliver a low carbon future.

“The UK is at the heart of this global debate because of political leadership and the outstanding quality of our science. That is where we want to stay.”

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