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Three Ways the UK Can Be Part of the COP26 Solution Instead of Part of the (CO2) Problem

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 yet another PR 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

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 in developing countries — and maybe even our own countries — would be the result of missing our global warming target by such a large margin. 

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 regulations, pass them into law, and then enforce those regulations.

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 policymakers to protect us from the poor environmental policies of previous generations of politicians.


Is Climate Change ‘Too Big’ an Item to Leave to the Politicians?

Well, don’t look now, but yes, it is ‘too big of 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.

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 a renewable energy grid at the same time — and both have extremely 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:

  1. END ALL ENERGY SUBSIDIES. People who receive subsidized energy… use more energy. Lowering energy wastage is the best way to lower consumption. Whether petrol or diesel motor fuel subsidies, primary energy subsidies from utility companies, or renewable 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 electrical demand and total motor fuel demand. When you lessen demand, you meet your clean air and CO2 targets.
  2. 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 whatsoever. Those jets burn 94 per cent cleaner than conventional kerosene fuel and they have a lighter maintenance schedule because they don’t produce as much byproduct (soot) in the combustion process. When you burn ultra-clean biofuel, you meet your clean air and CO2 targets.
  3. LEGISLATE THAT ALL CARS, TRUCKS AND SEMI TRUCKS BE POWERED BY ELECTRICITY BY 2025, AS NORWAY HAS ALREADY DONE. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV’s) are wildly popular with those who own them, they require far less maintenance, they’re more reliable, have far fewer moving parts to wear out, they don’t pollute and batteries will become about as recyclable as petrol engines are at the end of their lifecycle. 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 easily 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 — and the corporate world will love that!

Academia wouldn’t have a chance to become the climate problem solver for citizens because they just don’t have the money that the corporate world has…


Save Our Planet or Leave!

So, by not solving the climate crisis now, today’s political leaders will have handed their remaining power to the corporate world and will become almost irrelevant — mere shills for the corporate elite.

In contrast, by solving the climate crisis now when it matters, it means that policymakers will save our democratic way of life, create a less toxic environment for people and wildlife, help to prevent floods, droughts, pestilence, a loss of biodiversity, and will help to lower healthcare costs and sea-level rise costs… and for politicians, it means saving their profession from utter contempt and eventual marginalization.

by John Brian Shannon

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