J.W.’s reply to Bernard Jenkins

Dear Bernard

I’m afraid your response to my concerns is inadequate in many respects.

  • I welcome the UK’s previous pioneering action on climate issues and these must not stop with this Conservative Government. Leading up to COP 26, I believe that we need to continue to be world leaders, showing the action necessary to keep global warming below the critical 1.5C set in the Paris Agreement. This is not a target we can afford to miss. We won’t be able to reduce temperatures if they rise above this point, and it is therefore essential to treat this emergency with the seriousness it demands, as governments across the world have done with Covid-19.
  • The Government’s current 2050 net zero date gives us merely a ‘greater than 50%’ chance – if replicated across the world – of avoiding a global rise in temperature that UN scientists have warned us will lead to ‘catastrophic’ events, including crop failure, flooding and increased disease. A ‘greater than 50%’ is not good enough, and it scares me. We can, and must, do better to reduce emissions now.
  • As future emissions reductions require action this year, and every year, the Committee on Climate Change has set targets to ensure the Government reaches its own target of 2050. Worryingly, the Government currently is not on track at all – far from it. In the Committee’s report of June, of the 21 key indicators to measure progress towards meeting UK carbon budgets and the 2050 target, only 4 were on track. And of the 31 milestones for actions recommended by the Committee last year in order to get to net zero by 2050, only 2 have been fully achieved, with partial progress made on 15. The other 14 have shown no progress. What steps is the Government taking to achieve these targets?
  • The ‘disruption and consensus undermining’ that you mention is exactly why citizens need to be involved in climate action: so that the general public understands the issues, the urgency, and the changes needed; and can play their role in how the UK adapts to change. Citizens’ assemblies have been used across the world to address complex and socially divisive issues. Although the framing for Climate Assembly UK was incorrect, the results seem reasonable and demonstrate the ‘cross-community consensus’ you mentioned in your letter. I see this as a positive first step for the Citizens’ Assembly in the CEE Bill. What will happen to these recommendations?
  • Your voting record shows you have generally voted against measures to address climate change but you have recently tweeted that you have been deeply moved by David Attenborough’s latest films about this crisis.
  • The CEE Bill outlines what is needed to address the scale and urgency of the threat. Will you support the CEE Bill?

Your sincerely