Category Archives: Environment

Fed up of This Site banging on about climate change? Here’s Stephen Fry

This is partly for all those “I’m all right” Jacks whose only concern about climate change protest is that they don’t end up being delayed on their way to work.

But it’s mostly for those government ministers who put their heads in the sand whenever a fat fossil fuel firm flings money at them to continue letting greenhouse gases stink up – and heat up – our air, without a single thought for the future.

And its for those corporate chiefs who don’t realise that, after we hit the tipping-point, their money won’t save them and it certainly won’t save their children.

So… I don’t know… why not try putting this clip in front of those people?

Go on. It isn’t very long:

Oh yeah – the video was made in support of Extinction Rebellion, those hand-glueing hippies who the Tory government wants to hide away from the rest of us.

Makes you wonder whether your leaders really have your best interests at heart, doesn’t it?

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Was Tory crackdown on protest really prompted by this oil-funded think tank?

Targeted: Extinction Rebellion members – here protesting at a Murdoch print works – were briefly defined as an extremist group. Although they have now been removed from the list, Home Secretary Priti Patel has continued to refer to climate protesters as “criminals”.

A Tory crackdown on legal political protest was devised by a right-wing think tank that is funded by the US fossil fuel corporation ExxonMobil, it has been alleged.

And it is easy to see the reason: it removes the right of ordinary citizens to protest against the climate-wrecking policies followed by the oil industry.

According to Open Democracy,

Policy Exchange explicitly said the government should pass legislation to target Extinction Rebellion (XR) in a 2019 report that got the attention of Tory MPs and peers.

The report called for protest laws to be “urgently reformed in order to strengthen the ability of police to place restrictions on planned protest and deal more effectively with mass law-breaking tactics”.

Sections of Priti Patel’s controversial policing bill, which became the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, appear directly inspired by the Policy Exchange report.

The Policy Exchange report that appears to have contained the seeds of the policing bill was later cited in the House of Commons by Tory MP Steve Baker, who urged ministers to read it, and in the Lords by Tory peer Matt Ridley. Baker is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic group that has received money from groups with oil interests in the US. Ridley is a member of the group’s academic advisory council.

Patel said openly that the legislation was intended to stop tactics used by Extinction Rebellion. The home secretary first pledged to introduce the bill just over a year after the Policy Exchange report was published.

Policy Exchange does not disclose its donors, but openDemocracy has uncovered that ExxonMobil Corporation donated $30,000 to its American fundraising arm in 2017.

There is much more information on the Open Democracy site (link below).

Circumstantial evidence?

Maybe – but then it isn’t likely that the Conservative Party, Policy Exchange and ExxonMobil are ever going to admit conspiring to silence legitimate political protest.

Source: Policy Exchange: Was oil-funded think tank behind anti-XR policing bill? | openDemocracy

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Back to coal says Johnson as energy crisis puts carbon-zero plan on indefinite hold

Carry on polluting: Boris Johnson’s – and Tory in general – short-sightedness means coal-fired power plants will remain open for the foreseeable future. He’s blackmailing us by saying it’s that or power cuts when winter comes.

How fortuitous for fossil fuel profiteers.

Boris Johnson’s government has ordered Britain’s last coal-fired power plants to remain open this winter after predictions warned up to six million households could be affected by power cuts.

The excuse is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it’s really because successive Tory governments since 2010 have ignored renewable energy sources in favour of helping fossil fuel corporations maintain their profits by stinking up the country with their greenhouse gas pollutants.

Downing Street confirmed a request had been made to keep coal power plants running, which had been scheduled to wind down operations by the autumn.

The move has raised questions about whether plans to slash carbon emissions were still on track, as the heavily polluting fuel source had been due to be phased out.

A Government spokesman has said it was still committed to ending coal power use by 2024.

Yeah, right. And what excuse will they use when 2024 rolls around and it still hasn’t been turned off?

Source: Government sneaks out bad news under the cover of the Queen’s Jubilee

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Is this really what the Tories call URGENT action to curb river pollution?

Boris Johnson’s Britain: “one of the most effluent nations in the world” as Dr Louise Raw put it when she tweeted this image.

How can the Tory government claim to be taking “urgent” action to curb river pollution when its targets are 13 and 28 years away?

Are we all expected to put up with being hip-deep in human waste in the meantime?

According to Environment Secretary George “Useless” Eustice, he’s taking “urgent” action to cut the “most damaging” overflows into rivers and the sea by 75 per cent – by 2035, with all discharges cut by 80 per cent by 2050.

If that’s “urgent” action, I’d hate to think what “Useless” describes as inconsequential!

Eustice said the government was investing £7 billion until 2025 to upgrade sewage infrastructure but admitted water bills will rise by about £12 a year to cover costs beyond that.

Didn’t the Thatcher Tory government of the 1980s, in its push to privatise water, say that bills would be cheaper and private firms would upgrade infrastructure using their profits? Yes, it did.

So why are we paying for it, in money provided by the government and directly through our own bills?

Some background: last autumn, the Tory government gave polluters the green light to dump risky sewage that has not been properly cleaned into rivers and the sea, after it turned out that Brexit had closed the UK’s borders to chemicals that are used to treat effluent.

The Conservatives followed this up by defeating Lords Amendment 45 to the then Environment Bill, which would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.

One Conservative, This Writer’s MP Fay Jones, said the amendment would have forced taxpayers to stump up £600 billion to “dig up” and modernise the UK’s sewer system, that has remained unchanged since Victorian times (apparently).

She then blocked responses that requested a breakdown of the figures. Considering her party is now saying £7 billion will cover the work, with an increase in bills to fund further costs, I think it’s fair to say that she overinflated the figures somewhat.

Mind you, she’s not the only one who seems to have – inadvertently? – misled the public. On October 25 last year, The Big Issue published a tweet, and an article, reporting that the water companies were saying they did not know how much sewage they were dumping into England’s rivers because the technology did not exist to monitor it.

But new data released on Thursday showed that in 2021, there were more than 372,000 spill events from from storm overflows, which release untreated sewage and rainwater into the environment to ease pressure on the system.

The Environment Agency said it has made water companies fit monitors to their storm overflows in order to capture information on how they are performing. 2021 was the second year the organisation published figures so it seems the firms were being economical with the facts.

And the facts are that we are being forced to live in our own effluent – along with muck imported from the Netherlands, due to EU restrictions on what can be dumped there – while water companies that are mostly owned by foreign governments coin it in.

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#AndyBurnham hammers Tory hypocrisy

Andy Burnham: he’s Mayor of Greater Manchester and he knows the reasons for every political policy being enacted there.

Here’s a great clip highlighting the Conservative government’s hypocrisy towards local government.

It’s from last Thursday’s (February 17) edition of the BBC’s Question Time. The issue here is Clean Air Zones (CAZs) but could be applied to any number of local policies, as Mr Burnham rightly states in the video.

Have a look, and a listen:

So the Conservative government imposed a requirement for local authorities to improve air quality – but it did not supply the necessary funding, and it has been campaigning against the measures that have been introduced under the conditions it created.

Rank hypocrisy. It stinks.

With local elections coming up in May, we should be asking questions about these policies.

Do you have a local issue that upsets you – in which you think conditions imposed by the authorities are unfair?

Do you know which authorities imposed those conditions? Were they brought in by local councillors or imposed by a central government that made extravagant demands but provided no help?

If so, you’ll know that the one thing you don’t need at local government level is a lot of Conservative councillors who will make matters worse.

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#PritiPatel’s #NewYearResolution is to direct her hate at individual groups – like #ecoprotesters

Vile.

Priti Patel – who, please remind yourself, is actually the UK’s Home Secretary and not a lunatic screaming from the social media sidelines – has released a video announcing her intentions for the New Year.

It’s ugly propaganda.

In part of it, she announces an intention to clamp down on eco-protest. This comes after the government that she represents pushed through a legal change that allows water companies to pump raw, untreated sewage containing human waste, condoms, tampons and who-knows-what-else into the UK’s waterways.

Her speech may be directed at people like Insulate Britain but you can be sure she’ll use new laws to attack anybody who dares to question the Tories’ right to fill the whole of the UK with their sh*t.

Here’s a quick video summary I did on TikTok (still testing what I can do):

@voxpolitical

#PritiPatel plans clampdown on #eco protest after government voted to dump #rawsewage into UK waterways.

♬ original sound – VoxPolitical

(Apologies to those who want subtitles but I still haven’t worked them out yet.)

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Johnson’s green credibility is blown; he flew back to London for meal WITH CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER

Not the Garrick Club dinner: you can bet Boris Johnson wasn’t drinking water (if that’s really what it was in this pic) at the booze-up with climate denier Lord Moore on Tuesday.

So much for all that nonsense Number 10 was spouting about Boris Johnson’s plane being super-green and its carbon footprint being negated.

It turns out he couldn’t catch a train back to London from COP26 because he was going to a meal with a climate change denier and wanted to get there on time.

Downing Street also said “time constraints” prevented Johnson from travelling by train – and this is clearly more true than all that crap about the environment.

According to the Mirror, Johnson left COP26 at 6.20pm on Tuesday, arriving at London Stansted at 7.16pm.

The train journey would have taken four and a half hours – meaning he would have been very late for the flash dinner reunion for Daily Telegraph journalists, including former editor Lord Charles Moore, who once said the climate crisis was “speculation”.

So there you have it.

After falling asleep at the major meeting to stop climate armageddon – maskless, thereby polluting the atmosphere around national treasure David Attenborough…

He took a plane – the more polluting option, no matter what Downing Street says (have those carbon-offsetting trees been planted yet?)…

And spent the evening at a slap-up meal in the Garrick Club with a self-confessed climate denier.

What a hypocritical puff of hot air.

Source: Boris Johnson took private jet from Cop26 to dine with climate sceptic at members’ club | The Independent

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MP says he never intended to make people colder and poorer – while doing just that

Craig Mackinlay: busy making his constituents colder and poorer.

Check out the complete failure of self-understanding displayed by Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay in this clip from the BBC’s Politics Live:

He said he didn’t become a Conservative – I think he means a Tory MP – to make his constituents colder and poorer.

But he should know perfectly well that being a Conservative MP means doing both of those things.

Consider the decision to end the triple lock on pensions for a year because the Covid-19-related fall and rise in earnings had created an anomalously large percentage wage increase that had not been anticipated when the idea had been enshrined in law.

That single change will mean a massive fall in pensioners’ incomes, that has already been mapped out as far as five years into the future:

An attempt by Baron Sikka to save the triple lock, during a debate in the House of Lords, was foiled when other peers shouted over his call for a vote:

So we see that by voting to abandon the pensions triple lock (as you can see by checking Hansard here), Mackinlay did indeed – deliberately and knowingly – make his constituents poorer.

Remember that, even though pensions are still being uprated, inflation is higher than it has been in many years; the cost of things like heating will outstrip pensioners’ ability to pay for them.

And that brings me to Mackinlay’s claim about making his constituents colder. If they can’t afford to heat their homes then they will be colder. It’s as simple as that.

And his government’s refusal to accept Insulate Britain’s call for social housing to be properly insulated (rather than left to be leaky, as they are now) mean any heat generated in these dwellings dissipates into the atmosphere, increasing climate change.

And that brings us back to Mackinlay’s argument – that he doesn’t think the investment in fighting climate change is worthwhile.

Either he has not realised that ensuring that people are warm, by spending on insulation, would help to fight climate change – or he’s disingenuously trying to convince you of that.

That’s just a simple chain of logic involving two sets of people. Feel free to work out ways the Tories are impoverishing and freezing other sections of society.

And if you ever meet Craig Mackinlay, feel free to point out the faults in his logic.

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#COP26 turns out to be the copOUT we all expected

David Attenborough at COP26: at 95, he knows he doesn’t have much time left – and he’ll die in despair for the future of the world if COP26 turns out to be just another gust of hot air.

This Writer opened Twitter today to be met by this from the acceptable face of Countdown femininity:

I bet she’s been monitoring the progress of COP26 – or lack of it.

Here’s the problem:

Sadly, it was the governments controlled by the corporates who were on display at COP26 – with predictable results:

Leading the parade of meaningless speeches was the UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson, a personality vacuum who could do most good for the planet by sucking all the harmful CO2 emissions into the gaping hole where his soul should be.

Yes indeed. Here he is sleeping without a mask next to David Attenborough, thereby endangering the life of a national treasure.

Here he is gassing about James Bond for no good reason:

Here’s that car crash interview. Spot the sideways look when he realises he is being challenged and nobody is going to help him out:

Oh! So tackling climate change is a matter for local planning authorities, is it? Then why did all those world leaders create so many more greenhouse gas emissions by flying and driving to Glasgow so they could drink all that Scottish booze and wag their chins at each other?

As for taking a plane back to London, Downing Street has claimed that he needs to be mobile in order to be where he needs to be at all times, that the plane uses a mixture of 35 per cent renewable fuel and 65 per cent regular (meaning it’s greener) and that the remaining carbon footprint is offset in other ways.

But this is just one flight among many. How many forests are being planted by the government in order to offset them all?

The whole farcical performance is summed up sharply in the following video (but don’t watch it if you’re offended by harsh language):

Tan isn’t the only one saying it, either:

Of course you won’t hear that on the BBC or ITV:

But it was noticed:

If they were all so great at cutting CO2 emissions – the greenhouse gas mostly responsible for the Earth’s increasing atmospheric temperature that is threatening us all – then COP26 would not have been called.

US President Joe Biden turned out to be another weapons-grade hypocrite (as I suggested yesterday). Look at how he turned up to a conference on reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

(Mind you, he wasn’t the only one who turned up to a conference about saving the environment in a gas guzzling mechanical monster. Hypocrites all…)

And his speech was just as bad:

Here’s a very quick answer to him:

Exactly. If there was a “market-based solution” to the climate crisis, it would have been implemented long ago and there would have been no need for a summit.

The most sense was spoken by someone who wasn’t even invited…

… despite having been a strong voice for reason for several years now. I mean, of course, Greta Thunberg:

“My expectation is that we will hear many, many nice speeches, we will hear many pledges that – if you really look into the details – are more or less meaningless but they just say them in order to have something to say, in order for media to have something to report about, and then I expect things to continue to remain the same.

“The COPs as they are now will not lead to anything unless there is big, massive pressure from the outside.”

Wise words – especially when coupled with the big announcement about saving the world’s forests, and the reaction to it.

And check out this dialogue between Labour’s Clive Lewis and Tory Zac Goldsmith on the relative responsibilities of the haves and have-nots:

Goldsmith was trying to dodge responsibility for the problem, on behalf of his rich buddies – but Lewis is right: the poor can’t give up something they don’t consume.

There were good speeches – but they were made by people with absolutely no power.

David Attenborough’s was a barnstormer…

… but he was speaking to a hostile audience. Look at those faces. They really couldn’t care less.

Maori activist India Logan-Riley also made strong points, having been asked to speak at the last minute:

“In the US and Canada alone Indigenous resistance has stopped or delayed greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one quarter of annual emissions. What we do works.”

Logan-Riley was not overstating the actions of Indigenous people in fighting for the environment. A recent report by Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and Oil Change International (OCI) found that an amount of greenhouse gas pollution equivalent to at least one-quarter of annual US and Canadian emissions had been stopped or delayed due to Indigenous-led resistance to 21 fossil fuel projects in the two countries over the last decade.

The report found that about 1.587 billion metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions have been halted. That is the equivalent pollution of approximately 345 million passenger vehicles — more than all vehicles on the road in these countries, or 400 new coal-fired power plants — more than are still operating in the United States and Canada.

Needless to say, she doesn’t have any political power at all.

All in all, COP26 has turned out to be exactly the copOUT we all feared.

This Writer is left in agreement with Tom London:

They are in control – because we stupidly allowed it.

And they will make us suffer.

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#COP26 : How are these polluting politicians going to tackle climate change? With weapons-grade HYPOCRISY?

If you’re doubting the sincerity of the world leaders who are meeting to talk – and I stress, talk – about fighting climate change and the destruction of our eco-system at COP26, you’re not the only one:

It’s true, isn’t it?

These leaders – certainly Boris Johnson and his crony Alok Sharma who is hosting the conference – did their level best to keep the coppers rolling in for their big business funders during the (ongoing, let’s not forget) Covid-19 crisis – at the cost of our lives.

They scheduled two hugely important summits back-to-back – in cities thousands of miles apart. And they are travelling between those places in hugely-polluting aircraft and enormous gas-guzzling motorcades.

They are likely to put the onus to take action against climate change on the majority of the population, even though the 1% – the billionaires – who fund them are responsible for as much of the damage as a full half of the 99% – the rest of the population.

They are likely to ignore the fact that the 99% have no choice when it comes to climate change. We have to use the facilities provided to us by the 1% who control them, and if those facilities are provided using resources that trigger climate change, we can’t do anything about it.

And they are likely to blame us when nothing changes.

Meanwhile, they are unlikely to impose strong demands on the 1% that will actually stave off our impending eco-doom. Such demands would require their funders – remember, the businesspeople causing the problem pay money to the politicians – to forgo some of their massive profits in order to restructure their enterprises to cause less pollution.

And that might mean they couldn’t build their own – hugely polluting – spaceships!

Knowing all this, if This Writer were you, I would take everything these people say at COP(OUT)26 with a massive spoonful of salt.

And remind yourself that nothing is ever going to change when we are led by people of such weapons-grade hypocrisy.