Editor's newsletter: A much bolder response to the climate crisis is needed
The UK' government's plans to hit net zero lacked any real ambition, as the world gets distracted from the climate crisis once again by Donald Trump
Let me begin by saying that this newsletter is an April Fools-free zone. Not that we lack a sense of humour here at NationalWorld, oh no - but who needs parody when the real news cycle provides more than enough mind-blowing insanity on a daily basis?
This week, just before parliament packed up for Easter recess, the government rolled out its ‘Powering Up Britain’ plans to tackle climate change and hit net zero. While the 2,800 pages of proposals didn’t attract much of a backlash from the kind of Tory backbenchers who are usually opposed to anything remotely progressive, they did manage to attract sharp criticism from experts and campaigners.
There was nothing new on lifting the de facto ban on onshore wind projects in England, despite grumblings from people like former COP26 President Alok Sharma. And Labour latched on to the fact that many of the ideas were rehashed from previous years, saying the government was “pretending it’s Green Day, but it’s Groundhog Day”.
Carbon capture was at the heart of the plans - although it sounds like the government doesn’t quite understand the controversial technology itself. Energy secretary Grant Shapps admitted that “we’re not there yet”, but said “we probably have the ability to store billions if not trillions of pounds worth of other people’s carbon”. The words ‘probably’ and 'billions if not trillions' doesn’t inspire much confidence. Greenpeace also told us that carbon capture “doesn’t do what it says on the tin and certainly should not be prioritised as part of a green industrial strategy”.
The plan has also been accused of not being ambitious enough to tackle the climate emergency, and of focusing on areas like nuclear power and fossil fuel technology instead of renewable energy or investment in home insulation.
It also comes in the same week that climate expert Yamide Dagnet told NationalWorld that exceeding 1.5C of global warming will have “exponential consequences” and could be a “death sentence” for some countries. Meanwhile, the UK has been outed as the worst country in Europe for the most highly polluting form of travel: private jets.
All of this can leave a lasting feeling of hopelessness. But instead, it should provoke urgency - both from us as consumers who can make choices, but more importantly among political and corporate leaders.
So as well as reporting on how governments are matching up to their climate commitments, we’ll also do our best to share the innovations, ideas and solutions from people around the world. On that note, Ms Dagnet also told our reporter Isabella Boneham that she thinks this year’s COP28 summit could be a “turning point” for major polluters to face their responsibilities. We shall see.
Trump in trouble
We shall also see Donald Trump’s mugshot picture on Tuesday, after he was indicted over a $130,000 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Given the life of outright corruption he’s led, the only surprising thing is how it’s taken this long for justice to catch up with him.
Like the FBI's investigation into his links to Russia that somehow exonerated him from criminal charges, the danger for his opponents is that this one turns the failed property developer into even more of a martyr for his base, and that any mugshot ends up on 'Trump 24' t-shirts and banners across America next year, if he still wins the Republican nomination over Ron DeSantis. We’ll have full coverage on Tuesday.
Staying stateside, I couldn’t let the return of Succession pass without writing about one of the best shows on TV. Here’s my take on why it’s such a hit - but you can read more thoughtful words from NationalWorld's TV critic Alex Moreland in his review, and trace the family tree of the Roy dynasty.
Have an enjoyable weekend - and remember to read the news with added suspicion this April Fool’s Day.
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