Al Gore leads international chorus of disapproval for Sunak’s climate U-turn

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Decision by UK prime minister to water down key climate policies ‘really shocking to me’, says former US vice-president

Image of Al Gore by JD Lasica  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Image of Al Gore by JD Lasica Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Al Gore, the former US vice-president, has described the decision by the UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, to water down key climate policies as “shocking and disappointing” and “not what the world needs from the United Kingdom”.

Gore, now one of the world’s foremost advocates for swift action to avert the climate crisis, told CNN: “I find it shocking and really disappointing … I think he’s done the wrong thing. I’ve heard from many of my friends in the UK including a lot of Conservative party members who have used the phrase, ‘utter disgust’.

“And some of the young people there feel as if their generation has been stabbed in the back. It’s really shocking to me.”

‘Pathetic’: what scientists and green groups think of UK’s net zero U-turn

UK not a serious player in global race for green growth, says Greenpeace, while Oxfam says move is ‘betrayal’

Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.
Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.

Jim Watson, professor of energy policy and director of UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources

“Rishi Sunak’s net zero speech is full of contradictions, and will make it harder to meet our medium- and long-term climate change targets. It also risks increasing the costs by delaying the shift away from fossil fuels and reducing the economic benefits to the UK.”

Prof Sir Brian Hoskins, chair of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London

“Our PM wants to have his cake and eat it when he says that the government wants to keep to the UK climate change targets but to weaken the policies to achieve them. These policies were already too weak according to the June report of its advisers, the Climate Change Committee.”

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK

“The grim reality is that Britain is no longer seen as a serious player in the global race for green growth. Under the Conservative government, Britain has gone from leader to laggard on climate change and further planned U-turns leaked last night will only hasten our waning influence on the world stage.”

Lyndsay Walsh, Oxfam’s climate change policy adviser

“Any further weakening of the government’s climate policies is a complete betrayal of people living in poverty – both in the UK and abroad – who are most vulnerable to climate change. The government needs to put long-term interests ahead of short-term politics and that means a fast and fair move towards renewable energy.”

Continue ReadingAl Gore leads international chorus of disapproval for Sunak’s climate U-turn

Rich Nations Have Delivered Mere ‘Pittance’ to Help East Africa Tackle Climate Crisis: Oxfam

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

“We have an abundance of clean, renewable energy,” said one African activist. “But to unlock it, Africa needs funding from countries that have got rich off our suffering.”

As the first-ever Africa Climate Summit kicked off in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday, an analysis by the humanitarian group Oxfam found that rich nations have delivered just a small fraction of the aid that East African nations say they need each year to meet their climate goals.

Unlike rich countries that account for a disproportionate share of planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution, East Africa has contributed “almost nothing” to global carbon emissions that are driving record-shattering heat worldwide, Oxfam’s new report notes. In 2021, according to one recent estimate, the average North American emitted 11 times more carbon dioxide than the average African.

The World Meteorological Organization pointed out Monday that Africa is responsible for less than 10% of global carbon emissions.

Yet “East Africa is one of the world’s worst-hit regions by climate change and is now experiencing its worst climate-induced extreme weather, fueling an alarming hunger crisis,” Oxfam’s report states. “Over 31.5 million people are currently facing acute hunger across Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan.”

Those countries, which suffer billions of dollars worth of climate-related damage each year, have said they will need at least $53.3 billion annually to meet critical targets under the Paris Climate Agreement. According to Oxfam, wealthy countries provided just $2.4 billion in aid to East African nations in 2021.

More broadly, Oxfam noted, high-income countries pledged that they would provide $100 billion a year by 2020 to help lower-income countries fight climate chaos.

“Oxfam estimates that in 2020 the real value of financial support specifically aimed at climate action was only around $21 billion to $24.5 billion—much less than officially reported figures suggest,” the group’s report states.

Fati N’Zi-Hassane, Oxfam’s Africa director, said Monday that “even by their own generous accounts, polluting nations have delivered only pittance to help East Africa scale up their mitigation and adaptation efforts.”

“Nearly half the funds (45%) they did give were loans, plunging the region further into more debt,” N’Zi-Hassane added.

Climate finance is expected to be a major topic of discussion at the Nairobi summit, which comes after months of scorching heat on the continent.

“Africa is seen as a sunny and hot continent,” Amadou Thierno Gaye, a research scientist and professor at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, toldBloomberg in July. “People think we are used to heat, but we are having high temperatures for a longer duration. Nobody is used to this.”

The Associated Press reported Monday that “there is some frustration on the continent about being asked to develop in cleaner ways than the world’s richest countries—which have long produced most of the emissions that endanger climate—and to do it while much of the support that has been pledged hasn’t appeared.”

Mohamed Adow of Power Shift Africa told AP that “we have an abundance of clean, renewable energy and it’s vital that we use this to power our future prosperity. But to unlock it, Africa needs funding from countries that have got rich off our suffering.”

In addition to calling on rich nations to contribute the aid they’ve promised to support Africa’s renewable energy transition, African civil society groups are urging their leaders to reject fossil fuel expansion, specifically warning against the completion of TotalEnergies’ East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

A recent Human Rights Watch report warned that more than 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania are set to “permanently lose land to make way for the pipeline and Tilenga oilfield development.” One analysis indicates the pipeline could result in 379 million tonnes of planet-warming emissions over its lifespan—more than 25 times the combined annual emissions of Uganda and Tanzania.

Zaki Mamdoo, coordinator of the Stop EACOP Coalition, said Monday that “the African Climate Summit could provide the platform needed for the continent to dramatically shift its trajectory and future—from one that is set to bear the brunt of climate collapse, to one of energy security and prosperity driven by decentralized and people-centered renewables.”

“For this to happen,” said Mamdoo, “African leaders will need to rise to the occasion and make firm commitments to significantly upscale renewable energy developments while resisting and withdrawing any and all support for exploitative and destructive projects like the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Continue ReadingRich Nations Have Delivered Mere ‘Pittance’ to Help East Africa Tackle Climate Crisis: Oxfam

Sunday evening politics review

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First off, I’ve had a really stinking cold for a week now. I turned to brandy for some respite and all of a sudden it seemed the cold was cured. Drinking more than one bottle of brandy does have it’s disadvantages but at least I appear to turn into a ranting fool rather than a death-threatening ranting fool. One of the dangers of overindulgence is that you think everything you say, think and do is fantastically profound and important. That’s the magick of eau de vie.

On the subject of death-threats, there has been at least one arrest for making death threats to MPs on facebook. I’ve failed to find what was actually said but come on. I’m certain that New Labour ministers and policemen did allsorts of nonsese to me while I was legitimately participating in the democratic process. The problem was that I was good at it ;) These MPs did after all vote to kill people – and it is expected – innocent people too unless these astoundingly super-wonderful weapons of mass destruction ‘Paisley’ missiles have got some truly divine abilities. That’s understandably likely to piss some people off a lot.

More false-flag attacks. C’mon, you’re finding it so easy that you’re not really trying. Don’t forget the issue that the innocent patsies are executed as part of that BS.

Image of Mhairi Black, SNP MP
Mhairi Black, SNP MP

Congratulations to Mhairi Black awarded University of Glasgow’s Young Alumnus of the Year.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Anton Muscatelli said: “Mhairi has been a true ambassador for the University of Glasgow, demonstrating huge commitment to her final year studies at the same time as canvassing for election.

“Students and staff at the University of Glasgow have shown they can change the world – I am certain that Mhairi will make a difference to the lives of others as she strives to combat poverty in her role as an MP. I am also sure that she will be an inspirational role-model for other young people to engage in the democratic process.”

There are various calls from disgruntled Labour MPs for Corbyn to step-back or disassociate with Stop the War Coalition and the Momentum movement and to refuse to attend the Stop the War fundraiser as guest of honour. Well he has already stepped back from Stop the War but a Corbyn spokesman is entirely correct in saying

“The anti-war movement has been a vital democratic campaign, which organised the biggest demonstrations in British history and has repeatedly called it right over 14 years of disastrous wars in the wider Middle East,” the spokesman said. “Jeremy Corbyn rejects any form of abuse in politics from any quarter. But he will not accept attempts to portray campaigning, lobbying and protest as somehow beyond the pale. In fact it’s at the heart of democracy”.

Is Corbyn responsible for all actions of all Momentum or Stop the War members and activists? What can he realistically do to stop any online abuse? He appears to be held to a far higher standard than others. Does the left call for Blairites to distance themselves from right-wing thinktanks?

Alex Salmond suggests Corbyn does a shadow cabinet reshuffle. Well, what did they expect?

I’m sure that I read a report that Corbyn’s chief whip Rosie Winterton refused to whip the Labour Party saying that she answers to the shadow cabinet. I can’t find any mention of it now but I’d like to know. Perhaps someone could buy me a ticket to the fundraiser and I’ll ask him?

And lastly, Jeremy Corbyn in a santa hat raising money for refugees.

Image of Jeremy Corbyn in a santa hat raising money for Oxfam's refugee appeal.

slightly later edit: I think that I understand Corbyn’s drive for a new politics. It is a different politics inspired by the Stop the War Coalition. In my case I also saw it in the 2005 G8 campaign.

It’s a real desire for consensus rather than confrontational politics. We did this at my own Stop the War group when delegates were representing the views of the group (which strangely enough is not the way unions and political parties do it).

Cameron claimed that he wanted consensus with the Syria vote. He didn’t and instead simply wanted a win to look the big war leader. Clearly there was and there is division rather than consensus.

Continue ReadingSunday evening politics review