Paris Offers Chance To Roll Back The Climate Change Act
By Paul Homewood
MP Peter Lilley has described the Paris Agreement as “toothless”, as the Telegraph report:
Britain risks being left “out on its own” pursuing even tougher green targets in the wake of the Paris climate agreement, as the "toothless" deal means other countries may fail to deliver on their promises, MPs have warned.
The UK’s own legally-binding climate change goals could be further strengthened in the wake of Saturday’s agreement, which commits countries to keep global warming to “well below” the previous UN goal of a 2C limit, experts said yesterday.
Yet despite David Cameron’s claims that the Paris deal “puts the onus on every country to play its part”, Amber Rudd, the energy secretary, admitted there would be “no tough compliance” on countries that failed to carry out their own pledges.
Peter Lilley, a Conservative MP and member of the Environmental Audit Committee said: “The agreement is fairly toothless. The only people who take any notice will be people like us.
“We’re already out on our own, we’re the only ones with such a legally binding target and that’s going to be hugely costly and as a result of this treaty we’ve got greater legal obligations than we had previously.”
The Paris deal will place a legal obligation on countries to set increasingly ambitious targets for cutting emissions, and to submit to five-yearly reviews to check their progress.
But the targets themselves will be up to each country to decide, and their implementation will not be legally binding.
So where do we go from here?
The INDC for the UK, is as a part of the EU submission, which commits to a cut in emissions of 40% from 1990 levels by 2030.
In fact, we have already achieved a reduction of 36% by 2012, the latest year figures are available for. (These cover all GHG gases and LULUCF, as the INDC pledges).
Yet here is the rub. The UK has already legislated for a cut of 50% during the period of the Fourth Carbon Budget, which runs from 2023 to 2027.
This was legislated in 2011, pushed through Parliament by the criminal, Chris Huhne.
We are, therefore, already committed by law to make much greater cuts than the EU is, or we are obliged to. But worse still, Gummer’s Committee on Climate Change has recommended that we increase emission cuts to 57% for the Fifth Carbon Budget, 2028-32.
This is suicidal. The only justification for setting of higher targets originally is that they would encourage the rest of the world to follow suit.
It must now be self evident that this has not happened. Even according to the UNFCCC, the INDCs will result in emissions increasing up to 2030. Only an idiot would expect China, India and the rest of the developing world to start making massive cuts after 2030, and there is certainly nothing in the Paris Agreement which mandates this.
All Paris has achieved is to kick the can down the road for another 15 years and more. My belief is that this failure has handed us the first real opportunity, since it was passed, to begin to roll back the Climate Change Act.
It is unrealistic to expect enough Parliamentary support to actually scrap the wretched Act now. But to throw out Gummer’s latest damaging proposals, and even amend the Fourth Budget to a 40% target cut, in line with the rest of the EU, is maybe now within grasp.
Certainly George Osborne has warned repeatedly that Britain cannot afford to go it alone with such policies. It also seems highly likely that Poland and its allies in Central Europe will object to EU binding targets for 2030, in the light of Paris.
Naturally, the ridiculous Bob Ward and his chums will fight this tooth and nail, as the Telegraph reports:
Despite this, Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said he expected the CCC to recommend that the UK increase its own targets in the wake of the new Paris deal, which sets more ambitious goals of keeping warming well below 2C and trying to keep it to 1.5C.
Mr Ward insisted countries like India and China had a “great incentive” to meet their own targets because they “understand the risks of climate change”.
Nick Mabey, of climate change consultancy E3G, said: “We need China and India to cut emissions faster when pledges are reviewed in 5 years’ time. The best way to persuade them to be more ambitious is to carry on delivering steep cuts in the UK and EU.”
In fact, the battle is really only just beginning. What is important now is that we get these facts out in the public arena and hope that our MP’s finally take notice.