Friday, November 17, 2023

The cost of climate backsliding

When the UK opened a new coalmine last year, they were warned that it would damage their international reputation and give cover for other countries also wanting to destroy the Earth. And that's exactly what happened:

The UK’s decision to open a new coalmine in Cumbria was a “disaster” that encouraged other countries to press ahead with fossil fuels, and the continued expansion of North Sea oil and gas is likely to continue the harm, a former chief adviser to the government has said.

Other countries are using the UK as an excuse for pressing ahead with fossil fuel projects despite their climate commitments, according to Adair Turner, the first chair of the Committee on Climate Change and a former head of the CBI.

Lord Turner told the Guardian that he had “literally been involved in discussions” in China and India where UK decisions had been given as a reason for not moving faster on the climate.

“I can tell you that [the Cumbrian coalmine] was a disaster globally, and in China and India, where I was engaged in debates [on reducing greenhouse gas emissions], I have had people say ‘yeah, but you’re building a new coalmine in the UK’,” he said.

The application to Aotearoa should be obvious. The incoming National government wants to overturn the offshore gas exploration ban so its rich friends can destroy the world. There's even a live application for an offshore drilling permit, which chickenshit Labour hasn't rejected despite it now being a slam-dunk rejection (Labour having finally passed the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, so the offshore drilling ban applies and the application cannot lawfully be granted). National's siding with the fossil criminals is already having diplomatic consequences; if they persist in this course, then they will not only ruin relations with our Pacific neighbours, but we'll also end up like the UK, with no credibility with the people we need to persuade if climate action is to be successful. And that prospect should worry all of us.