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Yearly Archives: 2021
First, we need to decide if we’re actually going to do something about rising CO2 levels, increased air pollution and rising sea-levels, or whether we’re on another junket to a UN Climate Change Conference.
See: UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021, October 31 through November 1, 2021.
Once we’ve decided that, we’re in a better position to decide if this conference is the one that will save humanity (from itself) or whether we must wait for a future COP summit to make concrete progress toward clean air in cities, lower pollution levels generally, and decreased sea-level rise.
At Present, We’re On Track to Lose This Fight
It’s being widely reported by major media outlets that even if every government on Earth kept it’s best CO2 reduction promises, we’d still be far below meeting our CO2 reduction targets… by such a large margin that instead of limiting global warming to +1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels, we’d actually experience a global warming of +3ºC by 2050.
That is not acceptable.
Widespread crop failures due to agricultural drought (in some areas) massive flooding (in other areas) a huge uptick in wildlife die-offs, millions of square miles of low-lying land lost to the sea forever, and catastrophic consequences for human life would be the result of missing our 2015 Paris Agreement targets.
And if we end up in such a situation, we’ll have no one to blame except the politicians of today… for it is their job to create legislation and regulation, have them passed into law, and see that those regulations are enforced.
It isn’t the responsibility of hockey players, nor is it the responsibility of bus drivers, waitresses, fast food workers, airline pilots or English literature professors to do this — it’s the responsibility of politicians to protect us from the poor policies of previous politicians.
Is Climate Change ‘Too Big’ a File to Leave to Politicians?
Well, don’t look now, but yes, it is ‘too big a problem’ to leave to politicians if past experience is to guide us.
Yet, there have been signs of excellence in some jurisdictions.
California, for one, which used to have the worst air pollution in the United States along with astronomical respiratory related healthcare costs, is now among the best in the world in advanced clean air policy.
The beautiful country of Norway is another shining example that sources almost 100% of its electrical power from renewable energy and is a place where 40% of new cars sold are electric vehicles, and by 2025, petrol-engined cars won’t be available for sale. Existing petrol and diesel-engined cars will still be legal to own and drive in Norway, but you won’t be able to buy or import a new diesel or petrol-engined car in Norway. And the sky didn’t fall, Norway’s economy didn’t crumble, and life continues a.
There are other stellar examples in the world of farsighted environmental policy by governments, but not enough.
But California, Norway and others have proven that it is possible to reduce vehicle emissions and switch to renewable energy at the same time — and both enjoy robust economies — so don’t even try that argument.
Switching to a green economy does cost money, but saves more money than it costs over the medium and long term.
Three Concrete Ways the UK Could Take Real Action Against Climate Change:
- END ALL ENERGY SUBSIDIES. People who receive subsidized energy use more energy. Obviously. Lowering energy wastage is the best way to lower consumption. Whether petrol or diesel motor fuel subsidies, utility company subsidies, or other energy subsidies — ALL SUBSIDIES = MORE ENERGY USAGE/WASTAGE/CONSUMPTION/DEMAND. Therefore, even renewable energy subsidies, yes, even renewable energy subsidies, must be discontinued in order to lessen total demand. When you lessen demand, you meet your clean air and CO2 targets.
- SWITCH ALL MOTOR AND AIRCRAFT FUELS TO BIOFUEL BY 2025. Biofuel burns 80 per cent cleaner than conventional petroleum fuel in cars, light trucks and semi-trailer transport trucks. Even moreso in jet aircraft engines, as Boeing, Etihad Airlines, Virgin Air, Alaska Air and the US Navy have proven beyond any doubt. Those jets burn 94 per cent cleaner compared to conventional kerosene fuel and they have a lighter maintenance schedule because they don’t produce as much soot in the combustion process. When you burn clean biofuel, you meet your clean air and CO2 targets.
- LEGISLATE THAT ALL CARS, TRUCKS AND SEMI TRUCKS BE POWERED BY ELECTRICITY BY 2025, AS NORWAY HAS DONE. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) are wildly popular with those who own them, they require far less maintenance, they’re more reliable, they don’t pollute, and batteries will become about as recyclable as petrol engines are at the moment. And you can charge BEV’s at home from an ordinary wall socket. Plus, they have astounding acceleration from a standing start. And no noise. If you like peace and quiet, you’ll love electric vehicles. When you drive EV’s, you meet your clean air and CO2 targets.
It is important to state that by utilizing any one of those above three choices, the UK
(or any country) would meet its Paris CO2 emission reduction targets.
The Time for ‘Kicking the Can Down the Road’ is Long Past
Now is the time for real and concrete action designed to meet all of our clean air and CO2 targets.
There can be no excuse at this late date for inaction or tepid moves toward clean air/CO2 emission reduction, or people (voters) will become convinced that climate change/clean air targets/CO2 emission targets/sea-level prevention problems are ‘too big’ for mere politicians to solve, and at that point, politicians will increasingly find themselves disrespected and marginalized in every future decision-making process!
Save Our Planet or Leave!
So, by not solving the climate crisis now, today’s political leaders will become even more irrelevant to their citizens than at present.
In contrast, by solving the climate crisis now when it matters, it means that policymakers will help to create a less toxic environment for people and wildlife, help to reduce the incidences of floods, droughts, pestilence, a loss of biodiversity, and will help to lower healthcare costs and taper the mind-blowing financial costs associated with countering sea-level rise… and for politicians, it means saving their profession from contempt and eventual marginalization.
One year ago, a massive blast destroyed part of the city of Beirut and levelled its port facilities.
Since then, Beirut has cleaned up much of the debris field extant in the aftermath of the catastrophic explosion which claimed 218 lives, injured 6,500, and the country has suffered widespread political and economic instability.
Not much rebuilding has occurred within the blast zone, but repairs to buildings are progressing as homeowners and business owners can afford to do so with their own limited funds. Very minimal Lebanese government assistance has been made available to those affected by the disaster.
One bright spot is that Lebanon got a new Prime Minister last week — which means that if reconstruction can be directly and efficiently stimulated at this important moment — that in itself will assist political stability in the country.
Lebanon: Billionaire Najib Mikati named new prime minister-designate (Al Jazeera)
Timing is Everything
Especially where disasters are concerned — whether natural or human-caused — there exists a short window of opportunity where assistance can (when it arrives on time) act as an economic multiplier in the local economy, compared to the same amount of assistance (monetary value) arriving later in the crisis which isn’t appreciated as much as early aid.
Now that most of the rubble has been cleared, now that inspection of the site is no longer required by investigators, now that the country has appointed a new Prime Minister (who is also a former Lebanese Prime Minister) now is the time for the UK to lead Western nations in sending exactly the kind of aid that Beirut needs, in a timely fashion, to help the long-suffering Lebanese people rebuild their damaged city and its demolished port facilities.
Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way!
Sending ‘too little, too late’ isn’t the way a Top Ten country should comport itself at any time — let alone when now is the optimum time to respond. For if such countries don’t lead at troubled times, they don’t deserve their high place in the world.
To whom much is given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48)
What Should the UK do?
Lead. Plain and simple.
UK leaders must respond to the newly changed political situation in Lebanon as a Top Ten economy should.
This could be as simple as sending one aid ship per week to Lebanon for the next 12-months.
What should the first shipment include? Obviously, the world is still in the middle of a pandemic, and therefore, PPE and COVAX vaccines should be made available to the people of Lebanon as they’re dealing with the same COVID-19 (and variants) as everyone else, and they’re still dealing with the aftermath of an apocalyptic explosion.
So, the next time you catch yourself bemoaning having to wear a mask in public, remind yourself that Lebanese people had half of their country’s most important city blown up a year ago, it’s still blown up, and they must still wear masks in public. Now that’s something to complain about! Having to wear a mask to the office isn’t.
The second shipment might need to be drinking water, or fuel, or maybe some excavating equipment so that Beirut workers can do some quick repair work on its port facilities to ensure foreign aid arriving in ships can be efficiently unloaded and goods directed to the appropriate organizations.
Whatever the people of Beirut need on a week-to-week basis; It should be our sincere pleasure to send it.
How to Pay for It
There’s no need for the UK government to consider raising taxes to pay for weekly aid shipments to Beirut for the next year as the government has already set aside .7% of GDP to spend on its annual Foreign Aid budget.
The UK can spend that .7% of GDP anywhere in the world and it makes sense to help Lebanon at this pivotal time and the disaster in Beirut should become the UK government’s highest foreign aid priority over the next 12-months.
Instead of the risk attached to sending huge sums of money as foreign aid that could be diverted to less worthy causes (it happens, sometimes, in politically unstable countries) it’s better to send useful goods to Beirut by ship, every week, thereby employing the UK foreign aid budget in a way that directly helps Beirut residents cope with the devastation they’re experiencing and stimulates rebuilding of the heavily damaged port and city.
Let’s hope that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson sees the wisdom of sending concrete aid, in a timely fashion, to the long-suffering people of Lebanon, in keeping with the UK’s high moral standing and privileged position in the world.
Coming up on 5-years from the June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, and 1-year and 6-months since the UK actually left the EU, it seems reasonable that Britons could expect to see some of the oft-touted ‘benefits of Brexit’…
Unfortunately, other than a smattering of small-ish trade deals, nothing else seems to have been accomplished by this Parliament — other than a colossal mishandling of COVID-19 (at first) — followed by an extraordinary commitment by the UK government to get every Briton vaccinated as quickly as possible. Success at last!
Well done, Parliamentarians. Slow start/good finish. If only every situation in this troubled world proceeded thusly…
But ‘So Much More Was Promised’ said every Briton!
And one of the main reasons the British electorate voted to leave the EU was to give the UK the ability to control how many foreigners are allowed into the country annually.
Another important factor is what kind of people the UK wants to accept. At present, the UK has many unskilled or low-skilled immigrants living in the Kingdom — which might be fine if there were enough jobs for them. Certainly, farmers and others depend on large numbers of low-skilled/low pay workers, but how many is too many?
Things reach a boiling point when so-called ‘grooming gangs’ are owning every street corner in certain towns and cities — making it advisable to forego walking (or even driving!) through some parts of town at any hour of the day or night.
What has this country become that it can’t stand up to local hoodlums?
Is it the government’s fault? Is it the Mayor’s fault, the fault of the Police, or are individual Britons too weak to own the streets that their tax payments financed? Is it complacency? Or is it just too dangerous to make a stand for oneself — now that different levels of government have avoided their responsibility to provide safety and security to citizens for so many years — that even the Police have (largely) given up?
‘This isn’t what we voted for!’ said every voter ever.
If Not Addressed – Heads Will Roll at the Next Election!
Previous generations of Britons stood up to fascism twice in the 20th-century and played a leading role during the Cold War struggle. That’s the legacy of their generation and no one can take it from them.
Yes, sometimes mistakes were made. But decisions often needed to be made ‘on the fly’ and without the huge benefit afforded by today’s instant communications, the internet, and the much larger body of knowledge that exists in today’s world. Even so, the ‘greatest generation’ met their (exponentially larger and orders of magnitude more terrifying) challenges with dauntless stoicism because they knew they were fighting and suffering for the greater good.
Will this Generation Rise to Meet the Challenges of Their Time?
It remains to be seen.
Almost meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets and slowly gravitating towards electric cars — approaches something akin to progress — but if citizens are too afraid to leave their homes, too afraid to take the train, too afraid to attend an Arianna Grande concert, or are too afraid to walk in the park, what is the point?
Why Pay Taxes When You’re Too Afraid to Leave the House?
The first duty of government (any government, anywhere) is to protect the citizens of the country. But it’s also true that ‘the government’ or ‘the police’ can’t be everywhere to solve every problem.
That doesn’t mean they can abdicate their responsibilities and exclaim ‘There’s crime everywhere! What can we do?’
Not good enough!
No matter how unfair it may seem, the government and the police must do a better job of protecting Britons and those who visit the United Kingdom. Yes, it’s become a super-sized problem as successive governments have let the problem fester because they were too busy opining on far less important matters.
But it’s reached a breaking point. Something must be done, and soon.
Hundreds of young men are crossing the English Channel every day, and are (astonishingly!) given a lift the rest of the way to the UK by HM Border Force ships after being fished out of dangerously overloaded boats.
In my opinion, the number of young men attempting to reach the UK via such dangerous means has dramatically increased since they have become convinced (through decades of inaction) that the UK Parliament lacks the resolve to take any actual steps to rectify this ongoing disaster…
“So far this year, according to government figures, more than 3,200 people have made the crossing.”
“Record numbers of illegal migrants expect to be moved quickly to their accommodation, says Border Force union.”
India (Brilliantly!) Wants to be Part of the Solution, Instead of Part of the Problem
(REUTERS May 4, 2021)
India to take back illegal migrants to UK in return for visas for young workers
Britain and India on Tuesday signed an accord on migration and mobility, an Indian foreign ministry official said, as they look to deepen economic, cultural and other ties following the UK’s departure from the European Union.
The pact will provide enhanced employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are living illegally in the UK, Sandeep Chakravorty told a news conference.
The migration pact comes after the two countries announced 1 billion pounds ($1.39 billion) of private-sector investment. Talks on a full trade deal are due to begin in the autumn.
“It is our solemn duty that Indian nationals who are undocumented, or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits, have to be taken back,” Chakravorty said.
Britain’s interior ministry said in a statement that the deal aimed to attract “the best and brightest, and supporting people coming to the UK through legal routes, while stopping the abuse of the system and speeding up the removal of those who have no right to be in the UK”… (Continue to Reuters.com to finish reading this article)
Now, that’s an example of a country that wants to be part of the solution to a serious and rising problem, and doesn’t want to play the ‘blame game’ with UK leaders.
And that’s called ‘LEADERSHIP’ people!
Have a wonderful summer wherever you travel!