COP21: The British government and institutions will have to take note

The global forces of science, of campaigning, of green business possibilities forced a move on the global stage that will have far-reaching ramifications.

A wind farm at Cefn Croes as portrayed by the See3D Visualisation Centre in Aberystwyth, a graphics system developed by scientists at the University of Wales to illustrate the effect of such installations on the environment

On the streets of Paris on Saturday, as climate campaigners from around the world gathered, there was a buzz of excitement. It was a feeling that yes, finally, we were seeing genuine political commitment to match the leadership already being shown by campaigners and the public in calling for action on climate change.

The Paris deal is not perfect. Far more still needs to be done by the Western world to support emerging economies and poorer nations. Future work will have to ensure that action on climate change is delivered equitably across nations, genders, and cultures.

But what was generating that excitement, an excitement that all could appreciated, was the news that global leaders had understood and expressed the need to keep warming to 1.5 degrees – a figure better than anyone expected heading into the talks.

The leaders listened to environmental scientists, they assessed the possible impact of a 2 degrees rise, and they acted. Most importantly, they listened to the public who have long called for and demanded action. In Paris, those cries were heard.

The challenge of keeping to a 1.5 degrees rise gives us hope. It gives us hope that vulnerable small islands can yet be saved. It gives us hope that we can stabilise our warn-out, neglected planet.

Now we need to see the commitment put into action.

Globally, there’s not going to be – there can’t be – tolerance for foot-draggers, tolerance for countries failing to pull their weight, particularly tolerance for Britain, which has the highest historic emissions per head of any state.

After a year of disastrous environmental policy-making, on renewable energy and home energy efficiency, on transport and on green manufacturing, there’s going to be international pressure on the Cameron government to change its ways.

And that 1.5 degree warming limit puts a powerful new weapon in the hands of campaigners in Britain.

At a gathering of British climate campaigners on Saturday night organised by Friends of the Earth, the energy, commitment, and determination was evident.

The anti-fracking campaigners – now with more than 400 groups around the country, and bolstered by meetings in Paris with fellow campaigners from around the world (including those in Germany, France, Bulgaria and New York State who’ve won their battles) – are going to be pointing to that 1.5 degree global target and saying with even more power, “no fracking”.

The community energy campaigners who want their communities to power themselves, and keep the profits are going to be pointing to that 1.5-degree target and saying, “you need us”.

The anti-airport expansion campaigners who could already point out that expansion is not in line with our legally binding greenhouse gas emissions targets will be adding, “But what about 1.5 degrees?”

The campaigners fighting to preserve local bus services, essential for providing a real alternative to the individual motor car, will be saying, “these services are essential if we are to achieve the below 1.5 degrees target.”

Those fighting our disastrous factory farming system will be able to point to 1.5 degrees and say “this doesn’t add up”, while the growing pressure for investment in and support for agro-ecology approaches that work with nature, protect the soil and enhance biodiversity will be boosted.

Other institutions are going to be feeling the pressure too. University administrators are going to be faced with that indisputable, globally agreed figure of 1.5 degrees when they face divestment campaigners demanding they take their funds out of fossil fuel companies. Local council pension fund administrators when asked where their funds are placed will face the same pressure.

Usually, not much changes at international meetings. But in Paris, the global forces of science, of campaigning, of green business possibilities forced a move on the global stage that will have far-reaching ramifications.

Most international conferences are forgotten soon after the ink is dry on the communiques. Paris won’t be – and the British government and institutions will have to take note.

25 Responses to “COP21: The British government and institutions will have to take note”

  1. Sid

    And so the climate scam continues…….

  2. Intolerant_Liberal

    It’s a step in the right direction, but if there is a climate problem it is like putting a sticking plaster on a dying patient. It’s just not enough. And we seem to have a polarisation of those who believe it, and those who don’t. What do you believe, and who do you believe and why do you believe it?? I wish I knew!

  3. David Lindsay

    Do the Greens regret the defeat of the miners in 1985? That is a Yes-No question.

    Any approach to climate change must protect and extend secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, encourage economic development around the world, uphold the right of the working classes and of non-white people to have children, hold down and as far as practicable reduces the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and refuse to restrict either travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich.

    We must not lose sight of the full compatibility between, on the one hand, the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and, on the other hand, the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past.

    “It has always seemed like a tall tale to me that we were causing these fluctuations.” So said George Galloway to Piers Corbyn on Saturday’s Sputnik. Corbyn set out that this was not a Left-Right issue, and then issued a thoroughly left-wing critique of the West’s deindustrialisation, of the fact that jobs were therefore being reduced while CO2 was not, of how the likes of George Soros were the beneficiaries, of the trebling of energy costs, and of the holding back of development in what used to be called the Third World. As with the EU, the real opposition was always going to come from the traditional Left. Once it got going again. It is getting going again now.

  4. Brad JJ

    Good stuff but as I read your article you know what kept popping into my mind? The factory producing wind turbines on the Isle of Man that the Government let go bust and close down.

  5. chris W

    Do you mean Vestas on the Isle of Wight?

  6. Brad JJ

    Yes.That loss of capacity seemed unnecessary.


    Was this a private company getting taxpagers money?

  8. Chris Golightly

    No it is a Danish private company twit.

  9. Chris Golightly

    Blah blah y blah.

  10. Brad JJ

    I believe it was so the government was within EU rules take it into private ownership to increase wind farm production capacity, find a new partner and sell it off. not difficult of complex but ideologically problematic. The workforce of 600 were fully operational and that is the kind of investment we should not write off.


    So it is a private company I did not specify any nationality in my comment you twit!
    And does this private Danish company get British taxpayer subsidy? Twit. Fuckin read the question Twit.

  12. Chris Golightly

    A Danish company, as you are a Denier twit who could have easily looked it up.


    Ok you arsed up your original answer…..Twit.

  14. Chris Golightly

    Do so enjoy winding up angry little denier trolls. Am I really bad? They are so furious and ignorant sometimes.

  15. Bernard little

    Yes. I was out several times each week as a member of Sheffield socialist choir supporting the strikers and their communities. Very little discussion about strategies for these communities drawn up by the green party to build a zero carbon economy so they had a positive future. Little or no discussion about the devasting psychological / social impact of pit closures and the lesson of communities reliant on just one industry for it’s survival. Difficult discussions yes. But honest.

  16. wjfox

    What scam? We’ve known about the heat-trapping effects of greenhouse gases since Tyndall performed his laboratory experiments in 1859.


    Go forth Golightly and multiply.

  18. madasafish

    Anyone who supports reducing CO2 without addressing the cause – world population growth – is wasting their time… and our money.

  19. Intolerant_Liberal

    Politics has descended into soundbites sadly. The Greens and UKIP and other single issue parties will always be marginalised, no matter what policy they have. Who takes Farage, Bennett et al really seriously? And what British party is really aimed at making a fairer economy for the majority of people here? Only when Corbyn came to the fore has politics looked interesting, even though I don’t agree with everything he says. There is too much orthodoxy in politics, on the surface anyway, where particularly the Labour party have been having an internal war for decades, but then you have people like Tristram Hunt, Miliband and others who are not for ordinary people at all. The Tories keep saying that Corbyn wants to return Britain to the 1970s. How ironic that they are returning us to the 19th century!!! There is no real participatory democracy in this country anymore. Oh sure, there is vigorous debate, of sorts, outside the PC Reich, but nobody really listens to ordinary people anymore, and in the end the political elites have only been listening to those who agree with them.

    And there is now the idea, slowly manifesting itself all over the post industrial world, that laissez faire free trade capitalism is the only system we have, with a right wing agenda attached to it. The Labour party until recently was going along with this, and although Miliband was personably a fairly nice bloke, he was wet, and didn’t nail his colours to the mast. He was playing to the middle England demographic, and most of us not in middle England or London and the SE are a little fed up playing second fiddle to those affluent folk there. The whole rotten system needs reform and people, I mean ordinary working class people, need to stand up and be counted for a genuinely fairer society. Because it sure as hell is not fair at all at this time!!!

  20. TheLyniezian

    Part of the cause. Malthusian types never get the *other* part of the cause – no-one ever does – which is overconsumption and unnecessarily high demand. This is the bit governments can’t entirely solve- it’s down to us.

    But then I have much to do myself…

  21. Bodhisattva

    CO2 does not ‘trap’ heat. It’s not a solid blanket. It’s only present, even now, at 400 ppm. It’s like a stadium of 10,000 with 9,996 yelling for the home team and 4 yelling for the visitors – and you believe those 4 people overwhelm the other 9,996? REALLY? Even with 4 megaphones, not going to happen.

    And, as usual, your source is exactly what you are railing against:

    Inside Climate News is the phony fractivist front for some very wealthy special interests who would deprive rural America of a future for their agenda. It’s an inside operation.

    It admits to being funded by the Energy Foundation, Park Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund; all of whom are heavy financiers of fractivist causes.

    It announces, with great flourish of trumpets, it is “a non-partisan and non-profit news organization.” Any group that proclaims to be non-partisan, of course, often turns out to be exactly the opposite – it’s the first lie they tell of many – or they wouldn’t bother telling us, so that’s the first clue as to who they are.

    David Sassoon, the founder and publisher of Inside Climate News, worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, as does Michael Northrup, another board member who directs the Sustainable Development grantmaking program at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and who provided the seed grant that got InsideClimate News started in 2007.

    Researchers at InsideClimate News (ICN) and the Center for Public Integrity (CPI – another left wing organization that claims it is nonpartisan) have increasingly focused their attention on issues related to hydraulic fracturing. From a lengthy report on air quality in the Eagle Ford region of south Texas to a largely uncritical write-up of an environmental group’s research on shale development, the stories have been decidedly negative, with accusations of health and environmental impacts forming the bulk of the coverage.

    But the omission of research demonstrating safety or benign environmental impacts, including major governmental reports and peer-reviewed studies, suggests that the ICN/CPI team is actively pursuing a narrative of harm, leaving aside other facts and realities about a significant yet complicated issue.

    Questions have also emerged about the methods that ICN and CPI have employed to obtain information for their stories, including the frequent use of opinions from activist groups with whom ICN and CPI share, but do not adequately disclose, funding sources. Emails show a willingness on the part of the ICN/CPI team to present false information as part of its interviews, or to deliberately withhold information about their affiliations from interviewees. There is also evidence that the ICN/CPI team has mischaracterized the interviews it has conducted with industry-affiliated sources.

  22. wjfox

    CO2 clearly traps heat. Only a crank would deny this.

    The rest of your post is the usual blathering, paranoid drivel.

  23. Bodhisattva

    All you’ve done is you’ve proven you, and your source video person, don’t understand how IR sensors and IR radiation work.

    Why does a greenhouse have solid walls and a solid roof?

    Give up?

    To trap heat.

    To act as a barrier to keep heat from getting through the barrier.

    Now your presenter in that video claimed the heat from the candle was being ‘trapped’ by the CO2 that was in the glass tube… and yet greenhouse glass walls keep heat from passing through, as would the glass used in his tube.

    I can think, right off the cuff, of why the event happened the way it did – I assure you, though, that if the CO2 in the glass tube were really ‘trapping’ the heat what we would have seen was the whole view of the camera would have slowly changed from seeing the candle to being ‘whited out’ as the gas in the tube heated up.

    We saw the opposite – what we saw was the introduced gas caused the image to go to a COLDER, a COMPLETELY COLD one!

    Watch the video again if you don’t get this. Keep watching it until it dawns on you that hot in the camera image is white, cold is blue, and the image went totally blue, not totally white. Try to come up with a reason why the camera went blind to the heat of the candle, and did not represent ANY warming in the CO2, when the CO2 was introduced into the glass tube.

    Go ahead: explain to us why we first saw a bright candle then as he added the CO2 the image got COLDER, not warmer!

    Is that what happens when CO2 ‘traps’ heat?

    In any case, thank you for completely proving your ignorance on these topics. It was fun!

  24. Bodhisattva

    Since you brought this back up, here is the short response – the red, white and other ‘warm’ colors on the display are heat. The blue colors are colder.

    When the camera’s view of the hot candle is essentially masked by the introduction of cold CO2 what he proves there is that NO HEAT IS GETTING TO THE CO2 IN THE SEALED CONTAINER. If it was you would see warming of that CO2 – it would turn from blue to warmer colors. The CO2 isn’t ‘trapping’ anything, it is merely opaque to most of the heat at the particular frequency/wavelength that the candle was emitting and was registering – the fact a little bit – you could still see the candle – was getting through speaks to the narrow band in which CO2 actually functions to TEMPORARILY ABSORB heat.

    TRAP implies permanence. CO2 does not BIND PERMANENTLY with heat. Greenhouse gasses TEMPORARILY ABSORB heat, then they typically lose it. You don’t understand the first thing about the ‘greenhouse effect’.

    If the CO2 ‘trapped’ the heat, it could not re-radiate it. The whole claim is that all that extra CO2 up there – all 130 or so parts PER MILLION, is RE-RADIATING energy back down towards Earth.

    Not ‘trapping’ it.

    Sheesh, you climate alarmists are so DUMB, no wonder change scares you so much!

  25. Colm McGinn

    Thick as a short plank.

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