The Eve of 2020

December 3rd, 2019

An update on the Shell initiative, ‘Drive Carbon Neutral’ – Forestry and Land Scotland has replied to me. They are definitely helping Shell offset drivers’ carbon emissions by planting trees on their behalf – this does not, I am told, mean they endorse Shell….

Well, another dilemma… This is better than nothing, I suppose, while we are still using petrol;

but will it just make us all happily carry on as usual…?

I really don’t know how we’re going to get past the queues of cars (metaphorically as well as physically…!) – happily, being retired, I don’t have to have my mind rubbed in the problem every day… could more people share cars, until we get better public transport…?

I’m keen on petrol rationing, but of course I’m told by voices of sense and reason that we ‘have to take people with us’ in any radical system changes.

One of the demands of Extinction Rebellion is that government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

Invitations have now been sent out to 30,000 households across the UK and of those who reply, 110 people will be selected as a representative sample to sit on a citizens’ assembly in Birmingham next year, over four weekends between late January to the middle of March.

I’ve imagined what I would do if invited on to this assembly! Sadly, I can just imagine discussions getting bogged down in personal stuff, money talk and negativity….

And I think XR intends that there should be a permanent (for as long as it’s needed – wouldn’t it be great if that wasn’t long…?!) group of people guiding/putting pressure on government.

A few people in a conference centre, having frequent breaks for coffee & lunch, during 4 weekends will not come up with anything radical….

There are so many brilliant groups of people, particularly the Green Party, who have researched and are ready to put a Green New Deal in place.

That is what is needed (the end of my election appeal!).

Now, good news and bad news, flip sides of the same coin really – the coin of finance….(not the chocolate coin of Christmas…)

The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal projects more than doubled this year, and for the first time US companies (Chubb and Axis Capital) have taken action. Also, Australian firms QBE and Suncorp have pledged to stop or restrict insurance for coal projects. I wonder where that leaves the high-profile Adani mine project… Lloyd’s of London and Asian insurers are still apparently the ‘last resort’ for fossil fuels.. We need to continue to lobby such irresponsible companies. Lobbying from ‘people power’ is so important here.

The reverse of the coin is the fossil fuel lobbyists – a report from watchdog InfluenceMap has found that although some investors support ‘green labelling’ rules, 98% of Europe’s 50 largest investors are members of lobby groups trying to weaken EU rules to stop ‘investment greenwashing’.

Ed Collins, the report’s lead author, said: “Our research shows how vested interests have risked moving the critical EU green taxonomy process away from being science-driven and focused on real-world impacts to one which supports narrow vested interests and the status quo in finance and sustainability.”

Still on finance, Mark Carney (stepping down from the Bank of England at the end of January) has been appointed as the UN special envoy for climate action and finance. He seems a good man. He said the new role, for which he will be paid a token 1 dollar (77p) a year, would provide “a platform to bring the risks from climate change and the opportunities from the transition to a net-zero economy into the heart of financial decision-making.”

COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference, began yesterday in Madrid. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday: “Climate change is no longer a long-term problem. We are confronted now with a global climate crisis. The point of no-return is no longer over the horizon. It is in sight and hurtling towards us.

“Our war against nature must stop.”

Hopefully, this will make more of us determined to fight for Nature.

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