A flurry of pledges have been made as the climate summit gets underway. Carbon cuts – but can we deliver?

USA has promised to cut its emissions in half by 2030, EU will cut its emissions by 55%, and the UK will cut its emissions by 78% by 2035

While these are great, it is now time for countries like China to start to reduce their overall carbon emissions, as at the current rate any cuts in the West will be cancelled out by rises in China and Asia. The problem is so vast that without all countries making cuts to their carbon emissions we cannot hope to cut far fast enough to avoid the worst of global warming and it’s impacts. China is promising to peak it’s emissions no later than 2030. While this is least a positive step, it really isn’t enough. Globally the human population it’s roughly 50 billion tons of warming gases a year – scientists have calculated that this needs to fall by at least 45% by 2030, if we wish to avoid these horrific impacts.

One of the big problems in America is the intransigence of the republicans. They have many leading climate change denialists amongst their ranks and have spouted falsehoods for many decades. They are now switching from denying climate change to denying it is as bad as it is claimed to, or that it won’t be as bad as it’s predicted to be. Giving how wrong these people have been one would think that they would not be listened to but this doesn’t seem to be true.

The American people recognise the emergency, they must now make sure they only elect people to office who recognise the obvious. Indeed, global warming must become the first priority on anyone’s list – if republicans will not move there foolish stance on global warming then the American public must make them an extinct political party, as they have done in the past when parties didn’t move with the times. America is talking about this promise as a moon shot – the sort of vast countrywide effort that was used to get humans to the moon. I would hope that readers of this blog agree that this effort is entirely warranted and indeed it is late to the table, in order to cut carbon emissions by 50 to 52%, in the next 9 or so years, we will need cuts of approximately 6% a year.

While this is doable it is going to need a lot what of money and attention from the government. I am encouraged by the British government’s 2035 target. However the British government has largely been saying the right thing for years (excepting perhaps David Cameron’s comment about ending all this green c***), what we need is action. In the last few years the conservative government has largely abolished support for electric cars, and has just scrapped the green housing Grant – so if I was interviewing any of them now my simple question would be where are you getting 78% from? Lofty goals aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if they aren’t accompanied by action.

Boris Johnson: the world will now be watching. You have set a target of a 78% reduction by 2035 from 1990 levels. Compared to now this requires a cut of 60% on my current emissions in 14 years, or roughly 4.3% annually. The government must reverse it’s foolish cuts over the last few years – bring back the green housing Grant or something similar, and bring back electric car grants.

Indeed one of the things required is that half of new cars are electric within 5 years. In order to make this happen it is likely that the government will have to increase its car grants. In 2020 Norway found that electric cars made up 70% of the new cars sold, however given the Barry’s policies have been in place to encourage this since the 1990s, the UK really has its work cut out for it. Vehicle tax both annual and vat on electric cars needs to be zero – everything else being equal this would make cars like a Tesla 8000 or 9000 cheaper, bringing it’s price for closer to that of internal-combustion engines.

If the government is serious about meeting this target it has its work cut out. However I am not impressed by targets; I will wait to see the government put policy behind it. Given past precedence I will not hold my breath.

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