Cameron must not cave in to UKIP pressure at the EU climate change summit

The argument put forward by Tory and UKIP dinosaurs is fundamentally flawed.

The argument put forward by Tory and UKIP dinosaurs is fundamentally flawed

Over the next few days, European leaders including David Cameron will meet in Brussels to thrash out an agreement on the EU’s climate change targets up until 2030. There is a huge amount at stake.

So far, the EU has been a world leader in the fight against climate change, becoming the first region to set binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But in the face of the financial crisis, leaders have become more nervous and the momentum behind the drive towards a greener economy has started to wane.

This could have far-reaching consequences. If EU leaders fail to agree on ambitious EU targets, this would send a damaging signal in the build-up to talks over a global deal on reducing emissions in Paris next year.

That is why in recent months, Liberal Democrat energy secretary Ed Davey has been busy touring Europe’s capitals, building up support for an ambitious EU-wide approach to tackling climate change. Davey has ensured that the UK is one of the strongest advocates in the EU for cutting emissions and leading the drive towards a low-carbon economy, and has led the formation of the Green Growth Group made up of 13 European governments including Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

This grouping of like-minded countries is now leading calls for EU targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and to drive innovation and investment in the renewables and energy efficiency sectors.

However, unfortunately it is EU leaders, not energy ministers, who have the final say in setting EU climate change targets. And David Cameron, who once grabbed the headlines for hugging huskies, now openly derides environmental policies as ‘green crap’.

With another risky by-election coming up and a general election looming on the horizon, there is a risk that Cameron will cave in to pressure from UKIP and Tory right-wingers and try to water down the EU’s environmental ambitions.

A weakened deal would not only undermine global efforts to tackle climate change, it would also represent a huge wasted economic opportunity. The argument put forward by Tory and UKIP dinosaurs, that we have to choose between green policies or jobs and economic growth, is fundamentally flawed.

All over the world, major economies such as the US, China and India are waking up to the fact that future growth will have to be clean and sustainable. Over the next 15 years, an estimated 90 trillion dollars will be spent on building modern and low-carbon infrastructure in the developing world. A whole new generation of high-tech firms and entrepreneurs are sprouting up to seize on the huge opportunities this presents to attract investment and create jobs in the green economy.

Traditionally, Europe has had the cutting edge in these sectors. We are well placed to lead the global shift towards sustainability, creating up to 20 million jobs in the process.

But already, EU countries are beginning to fall behind our competitors. Unless Europe’s leaders strike an ambitious deal, including strong targets for renewables and energy efficiency, we will fall further behind in the global race to develop the green technologies of the future.

Cameron must ensure he is on the right side of the argument and listen to his energy secretary, rather than giving in to UKIP pressure. Or else, he risks putting short-term political gain ahead of the long-term interests of Britain, Europe and the planet.

Catherine Bearder is a Liberal Democrat MEP

44 Responses to “Cameron must not cave in to UKIP pressure at the EU climate change summit”

  1. Northeus

    LFF – stick to politics. Satire isn’t your forte.

  2. Selohesra

    Climate change is politics – it has precious little to do with science

  3. Katabasis

    Last time I calculated it, the UK’s contribution to GHG emissions was 1.24%. Even if you believe that CO2 is going to lead to catastrophic outcomes (something that is regarded by AR5 as unlikely – see table 12.4 for example in the full report), the UK is doing nothing to “fight” climate change whatsoever as it will serially be outstripped by just the increases in Chinese output alone. There’s no “leadership” if the most important followers aren’t “following”. You can bluster all you like about how they must eventually comply – at best you’ll just get a continuation of the current policy which appears to be lip service.

    And “green jobs”? That’s an extremely dangerous myth, especially when talking about an industry that is fundamentally subsidised and is unproductive in net terms.

  4. John Smith

    More #EU inspired taxes we cannot afford No wonder energy is SOOOOOO expensive

  5. John Smith

    Its just a way to create fear, control us & squeeze more taxes out of us. We end up subsidising rich farmers & landowners Wind turbines & Solar Panels

  6. Cole

    So what’s your plan to deal with climate change? Or are you one of these deluded folk who think we can do nothing about it or it’s not a problem

  7. Cole

    It has everything to do with science. The overwhelming consensus among scientists is that man made climate change is happening and is a serious danger. The question now is what we do about it – quickly.

  8. Katabasis

    There is very little consensus over the “serious” part. The fact of that is in black and white in AR5.

  9. Cole

    Oh rubbish. No-one apart from a few right wing loons denies it’s happening. Debate over.

  10. Katabasis

    I didn’t say there wasn’t any AGW, I said that the IPCC position is highly uncertain over the “serious” prognosis. There really is no consensus there. And you really can read it for yourself in black and white:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/

    In particular, see table 12.4

    If you’re at variance with the IPCC, you’re effectively at variance with “the consensus”

  11. Katabasis

    Those “deluded folk” at the IPCC aren’t particularly sure whether AGW is going to be particularly bad.

  12. Cole

    Let’s just be very clear. IPCC say firmly that climate change is significantly caused by human activity and is a serious and urgent issue.

  13. Katabasis

    “is a serious and urgent issue.”

    – No, it says it might be a serious and urgent issue and cannot attach any probabilistic estimate to the higher end scenarios like RCP6 and RCP 8.5

  14. John Smith

    There has always been ‘Climate Change’, or are you an ice age denier?
    We do not mind if you pay all the taxes, if it will make you happier & fulfilled

  15. Cole

    The report says very clearly that it is ‘extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid 20th century’ (p16 of Summary for Policy Makers). That’s the key point that flat earthers still refuse to accept because they don’t want to do anything about it.

  16. Katabasis

    Yes, Cole, that is what it says about the past.

    What does it say about the future?

  17. Guest

    No surprise you are all for simply pushing the costs off onto the poor.

  18. Guest

    So you haven’t read it. The costs are mounting even now.

  19. Guest

    Yes, of course your personalities are all for the poor paying all the tax and your none, but what does that have to do with AGCC?

  20. Guest

    No surprise you don’t believe in science which goes against your politics. Of the pocketbook.

  21. Leon Wolfeson

    The costs might be a few trillion less than they fear. Right.

  22. Guest

    No surpruse you blame the EU for everything, while whining the poor don’t pay enough and how expensive your mansion is to heat.

  23. Leon Wolfeson

    Renewables?

    The way China and India are moving for base-load power is nuclear.

    “Energy Efficiency”

    Yea, poor people turning off the heating and lighting.

  24. John Smith

    So you are an ice age denier. No surprise you want everyone else to pay cc taxes

  25. John Smith

    Its the ice age denier The one who wants everyone else to pay

  26. Katabasis

    You guys are an absolute hoot. I have read it – it’s why I’m pointing you to specific parts. Start with table 12.4 and get back to me. Assuming you don’t go blind as soon as you see it.

  27. Katabasis

    Current policies almost *exclusively* punish the poor!

  28. wj

    Never thought I’d agree with you Wolfie.

  29. Cole

    Flat earthers are indeed a hoot. First, they deny climate change is happening, then they say it’s nothing to do with humans, then, when that’s discredited, they say ‘I’m not a scientist so I really can’t comment’ or ‘yes, it’s happening but it’s not much of a problem’. Cherry picking bits of a very long report whose conclusions are actually very clear is another tactic by this this clumsy but well financed PR campaign (thank you, Big Oil). I guess they learned tactics from the tobacco companies.

  30. Katabasis

    You’re completely failing to engage and are acting like a child.

    You’ve decided to paint a cartoon face on the wall and talk to that instead of being an adult and addressing my specific points and references.

    Do grow up.

  31. Coke

    You obviously haven’t read about IPCC report. I guess you know better than the scientists. Probably the usual ignorant and selfish flat earther

  32. Cole

    Actually there’s no debate to be had with the likes of you. It’s entirely pointless and bogus, just like the people who wanted to ‘debate’ if cigarettes were harmful. The science is clear as it ever can be, and the issue is what we do about climate change.

  33. John Smith

    Another leftie full of personal abuse An annoying but not unexpected trait
    Are you an ice age denier as well?

  34. Cole

    Another flat earther line: ‘we can’t do anything about climate change because it will put up energy bills and hurt poor people who, of course, we care deeply about’. Yeah, right.

  35. Newgen Wind Turbines

    Wrong about the green jobs and the productivity. All energy companies / producers get subsidised in one form or fashion. Nuclear, Oil, Gas, Wave, Solar, and Wind.

    The subsidies for renewables do not come out of taxes though.

  36. Katabasis

    “Wrong about the green jobs and the productivity”

    Spanish “Green jobs” in fact a job killer:
    http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/finance/2011/november/spains-green-disaster-a-lesson-for-america/

    “The subsidies for renewables do not come out of taxes though.”

    – They are subsidised primarily through costs passed on directly to the consumer.

  37. Katabasis

    Have you consulted table 12.4 in AR5 yet?

  38. Katabasis

    I’m citing directly from it. You appear to go blind at that point.

  39. Cole

    Have you actually taken in the thrust of the whole report rather than pathetic cherry picking?

  40. Katabasis

    AR5 says that the worst outcomes are highly uncertain.

    The main line of evidence for these are the RCPs. The technical summary clearly states: “The scenarios should be considered plausible and illustrative, and do not have probabilities attached to them.”

    You can see it for yourself but I’m sure you’d rather continue to bleat ignorance and selective blindness.

  41. JoeDM

    ” IPCC say firmly that climate change is significantly caused by human activity and is a serious and urgent issue.”

    And if they said anything different they’d be out of a job !!!

  42. zlop

    “”green jobs”? That’s an extremely dangerous myth, especially when talking
    about an industry that is fundamentally subsidized and is unproductive”

    Similar to the perpetual war on everything industry,
    Stealing, Carbon Tax Extorting, Corruption increases the economy.

  43. cole

    Oh just read up on this, will you?

  44. Katabasis

    I have read up on it. I’m citing sections you willfully refuse to read.

    Who is the “denier” in this context.

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