UK Climate Act Not Tough Enough, Say Krebs and Haigh

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier


The Conversation had an article last week, written by long time quangocrat Lord Krebs, and Joanna Haigh, Director of the Grantham Institute:

It repeats all of the usual alarmist nonsense, and concludes that the UK needs a “more ambitious” Climate Change Act, to get us down to zero emissions by 2050:



The UK’s Climate Change Act is a pioneering and far-sighted piece of legislation, ushered in ten years ago by a remarkable cross-party consensus in parliament and clear support across the nation.

As we celebrate its tenth anniversary, it is time to ask, though, whether the central ambition of the Act – reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 – is still adequate in light of changing circumstances, or whether it needs strengthening.

Climate scientists are clear that global carbon emissions will have to fall to net zero at some point if the rise in average temperature is to be halted. This is because as long as the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continues to increase, the temperature is likely to keep on rising. (“Net zero” means that although there may be a small amount of carbon dioxide being emitted each year to the atmosphere, an equivalent amount will be absorbed and stored.)

The UK government, along with all others, acknowledged this reality by signing up first to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report in 2014, and then the Paris Agreement in December 2015.

The IPCC said that meeting the 2℃ target then in place “…would require that global net emissions of CO₂ eventually decrease to zero”. In the Paris Agreement governments committed “…to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. In 2016, the UK’s then energy minister, Andrea Leadsom, told parliament: “The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net zero emissions in UK law.”

Having agreed that a net zero target is necessary, the next question is “when?”


2050 is already too late

In the Paris Agreement, governments pledged not only to hold global warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”, but also to attempt to “limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C … recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.”

The government’s statutory advisor, the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC, on which one of us used to sit), advises that in order to stand an evens chance of meeting the 1.5°C aspiration, global emissions of CO₂ need to fall to net zero by the 2040s. The IPCC is producing a special report this year on the case for limiting warming to 1.5°C and pathways for doing so, and is likely to say the same thing.

One of the principles of the UN climate convention is that prosperous nations lead the way. Britain agreed to this back in 1992 and has reaffirmed it many times since. If the science is clear that the global target should be “net zero by 2050”, there is no case for the UK setting a later date – and there is a case for making it earlier.


Leaving aside the scientific basis, Krebs and Haigh display an alarming naivety about what actually happened at Paris in 2015.

All the world’s leaders gathered together, agreed that it would be nice to have Christmas every year, had their photos taken, and went home again. Unfortunately nobody there actually wanted to pay for it.


Nothing in the article undermines their case more than this sentence:

 One of the principles of the UN climate convention is that prosperous nations lead the way. Britain agreed to this back in 1992 and has reaffirmed it many times since.


Since the Climate Change Act was passed in 2008, prosperous nations have cut their emissions by 8%.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world, which was already emitting more, have been busily doing their own thing, and increased emissions by 22%.

We have led the way, but they have not followed.




Why Krebs and Haigh think they will take any more notice of us in future defies logic. One wonders what world the pair of them inhabit.


Apparently though it is the same one that Claire Perry lives on. Last week she also celebrated the Climate Change Act, writing in Business Green:


A decade of bold decision making has delivered – but this is just the start

2008 – a year that historians will look back on with poignant memories in years to come. Barack Obama became the first black President of the United States, Beijing hosted the Olympic Games, and the globe was in the midst of an economic crisis.

Against this backdrop, something radical was happening in our Parliament. The UK’s landmark domestic Climate Change Act passed into law with near-unanimous cross-party support, setting an ambitious legally-binding target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. A precious political consensus on climate action was achieved, and has been preserved ever since.

And a report out just today from the London School of Economics presents a clear case that this ground-breaking Act has been absolutely instrumental in advancing climate action globally over the past decade and has provided a framework through which the UK has lead the world in reducing emissions, while continuing to strengthen our economy.

The report also notes the UK’s Act’s truly innovative legal framework and I am incredibly proud that our work is held with such high regard across the globe. It is only fitting that the ‘mother of parliaments’ has produced a first of its kind piece of legislation that is inspiring similar acts in other nations.

But we must never be complacent. The case for climate action is unequivocal and we must continue to not only drive emissions reduction at home, but abroad too. I want other nations to use our climate law as the gold standard for their own emissions reduction policy – and to follow in our footsteps. Just this week, I met with key players in our finance sector, where the Green Finance Taskforce commissioned by this government made wide-ranging recommendations to unlock the vast potential of green investment, trillions of pounds of private sector capital that will be needed to be deployed if we are to meet our binding targets. I now want to take forward these important recommendations – and then see our model for clean growth replicated across the globe.


absolutely instrumental in advancing climate action globally over the past decade

Is she for real?


Then, apparently with all seriousness, she tells us how much this is all going to cost each and every one of us:

 “trillions of pounds of private sector capital that will be needed to be deployed if we are to meet our binding targets”


Welcome to the mad house!


April 4, 2018 at 01:36PM

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