Government admits to inadequate action on climate change

Barry White

The government has admitted that its efforts to insulate the UK from climate change impacts have been inadequate following a report published yesterday by its official advisers, the Climate Change Committee, see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047003/climate-change-risk-assessment-2022.pdf .

The costs of climate change to Britain are “high and increasing”, the report says, and could reach many billions of pounds a year. It means climate change must be built into all long-term decisions, such as new housing or infrastructure. The aim should be to avoid costly remedial actions in the future.

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Suffocating rivers exposed

Barry White

A ‘chemical cocktail’ of sewage, agricultural waste, and plastic is polluting the waters of many of the country’s rivers according to a report published on 13 January by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, see: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8460/documents/85659/default/ . It points out that water companies appear to be dumping untreated or partially treated sewage in rivers on a regular basis, often breaching the terms of permits that on paper only allow them to do this in exceptional circumstances.

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COP26: A just transition?

Barry White

Last November, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) held two just transition workshops at a fringe meeting in Glasgow City Chambers during COP26. The workshops examined national just transition examples from around the world and projects that emphasise community engagement and participation. The nine speakers from England, Wales, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Kenya told the in-person and online audiences about their projects, highlighting what helped them succeed and the obstacles they had to overcome.

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Alan Bennett on the relic that will be coal

Barry White

Alan Bennett’s yearly diary (2021) which chronicles his life, was published just before Christmas by the London Review of Books (for the 6 January edition). Writing about buying coal for his home in Clapham Alan records:

“14 November. Sometime before lockdown, and with no thought of swearing off fossil fuels, I ordered some coal from Mr Redhead, our coal merchant in Ingleton. The coal shed halfway down the garden must once have been the earth closet, a change of use I rather regret, as when we were evacuated to Byril Farm in Nidderdale on the outbreak of war, they were still using an earth closet. It was idyllically situated in the orchard and though as a five-year-old I fear I thought it disgusting, in retrospect sojourns here with the door open and Tommy the horse grazing in the orchard seem idyllic. Our ex-earth closet now the coal shed must once again be facing a change of use, though still full of the unused coal from before lockdown. ‘This is coal,’ I imagine my descendants being told. ‘It used to be fuel.’ Now it’s – what? A relic? One can only hope so.”

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