Category Archives: Climate change

At last some good news? UK quits climate treaty that penalises shift to Net Zero

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After he dropped his Green Prosperity Plan, activists try to deliver, to Keir Starmer, a spine

‘My arbitrary fiscal rules are at fault’: Green New Deal Rising’s infographic attacking Keir Starmer’s decision to abandon policies that might save the environment in favour of profit-friendly opportunism.

Fair play to the activists from Green New Deal Rising for getting onto this as quickly as they did.

On the day the Labour Party dropped its pledge to spend £28 billion a year on green projects to boost the UK’s economy, they went straight up to Parliament to do this:

And who can blame them?

In trying to make his party as “vanilla” as possible, Starmer has ditched every single policy that marked it out as being different from what we already have, while adopting anything that could make Labour look like the Conservatives.

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The message to voters is: “Vote Labour for absolutely no change!”

I wonder who he hopes to impress with that.

Certainly not the members of Green New Deal Rising, who have had bad experiences with Starmer in the past:

Just looking at the clips above, if This Writer had to choose between Starmer and his Labour cronies, and the Green New Deal Rising campaigners, I’d put the youngsters in Parliament every time.

Putting them next to each other simply emphasizes the lack of trustworthiness that oozes from the man in the suit.

I hope they – and everyone else who has a conscience – hammers the pledgebreaker with this until he is out of politics altogether.


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Keir Starmer kills off £28bn Green Prosperity Plan pledge – and his election hopes?

Windmills of his mind: but did Keir Starmer ever have any real intention to go through with his now-ditched £28bn Green Prosperity Plan?

No serious commentator could possibly describe any of Keir Starmer’s policies as “firmly held principles or promises” because he changes them with the wind, so the above is not strictly true for him – although it is for his party.

Labour had been adamant that, if elected into government, it would invest £28 billion a year on green energy projects like creating a publicly-owned green power company, building offshore wind farms and developing electric vehicles – until today (February 8, 2024), when the policy was unceremoniously dumped.

Why?

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According to the New Statesman,

Campaign director Morgan McSweeney and the national campaign coordinator Pat McFadden have long feared that the £28bn figure leaves Labour  vulnerable to a classic Tory “tax bombshell” attack – the strategy that helped deliver them election victories in 1992 and 2015.

McSweeney recently warned the shadow cabinet that … Labour has to “bombproof” its offer in advance.

Since economic modelling has shown that increasing investment to £28bn a year would break the party’s fiscal rules, the figure was never likely to be met in the next parliament.

Starmer’s move is not without political risk. It will encourage the charge from left and right that he is a “flip-flopper” who doesn’t stand for anything. Indeed, his chief of staff, Sue Gray, has warned him in advance of this.

Rightly so. This speech strikes home:

That’s the right-wing charge. Here’s the charge from the left:

Even Barry Gardiner, Labour’s Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary at the time of the 2019 general election – and one of the party’s most eloquent promoters – has turned on his boss over this:

Going back to the Statesman, there’s one final point to be made:

On a more fundamental level, it also raises the question of how a Labour government would increase Britain’s economic growth to the highest in the G7 and achieve its target of clean power by 2030. As recently as yesterday, Starmer insisted that £28bn was crucial to both. The policy may have gone but the arguments it triggered will endure.

So Starmer has ditched the Green Prosperity Plan because it would break Labour’s fiscal rules – but without it, the party cannot achieve its economic goals.

This Writer has a feeling that Starmer has created his own nemesis, rather than vanquishing it.


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Keir Starmer, Wes Streeting, Labour – all useless. Vote Green/Independent?

Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting: they should rename their party ‘No Labour’.

Keir Starmer and his shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting provided ample examples of reasons not to vote for their Labour Party during the Sunday morning media round today (January 14, 2024).

I doubt I even have to provide much commentary on the following. It speaks for itself.

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Here’s Starmer on why he supported attacking one of the world’s poorest countries:

Here’s a response that puts his words in context:

Starmer’s support for the attack represents a massive u-turn in his own personal commitments – as Laura Kuenssberg pointed out to him. His response was beyond parody:

So, in Keir Starmer’s world, air strikes are not military operations. This may explain why he has not condemned Israel’s carpet-bombing of Gaza that has killed so many thousands of men, women and children.

Here’s Starmer on why his use of a private, highly-polluting plane is perfectly reasonable and Rishi Sunak doing exactly the same is outrageous:

So he’s happy to pollute, even when there are scheduled flights, and even when a telephone conversation would probably be perfectly appropriate. Now we know.

Green Party deputy leader Zack Polanski made the facts clear for us all:

Closer to home, Starmer showed that he fully supports the Tory government’s persecution of refugees and asylum-seekers:

Streeting supported Starmer – and the Tories – when he was interviewed by Trevor Phillips:

Streeting also defended Starmer’s u-turn on having Parliamentary votes before military action:

Streeting is a member of Labour Friends of Israel. Here he is, explaining why he doesn’t want to pay attention to the genocide hearings at the International Court of Justice (notice his about-turn on calls for an Israel/Gaza ceasefire):

Meanwhile, Starmer’s party is losing the support of its own elected representatives because of its determination to stand with genocidal Israel:

And the wider public?

All of this is a huge bonus to the smaller political parties and independents – or would be, if they were allowed to have a voice in the mass media. Apparently they aren’t:

It goes for Independents, too. How many people in Kensington and Bayswater know about this?

Why not?

Perhaps it’s time to give a platform to people who have something to say.


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More than 1,000 English homes are flooded – because of Tory complacency?

Stormy weather: much of northern Europe has been battered by storms and heavy rainfall.

More than 1,000 homes in England have been flooded – and it could be argued that this is because the Conservative government doesn’t care about damage to your property.

According to the BBC, the flooding follows the arrival in the UK of Storm Henk, and a week of heavy rainfall.

At the time of writing there are more than 250 flood warnings and 275 flood alerts in place across England.

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UK prime minister “Rishi-Washy” Sunak defied reality by saying people should be reassured by the response to flooding in badly hit areas.

He said: “Hundreds of high volume pumps are in practice right now making a difference, and it is important that people follow the advice that has been given in local areas where there are flood warnings that have been given.”

He added: “The Environment Agency have people on the ground everywhere, and absolutely recognise the urgency of what is happening and they are responding appropriately and with all due haste.”

But he was criticised by the Liberal Democrats, who said he should be “meeting people affected by this annual carnage, then he might do something about it”.

“Annual carnage” just about sums it up. And the Liberal Democrats can’t complain because they did nothing about it when they were in a coalition government with the Tories.

This Site has been reporting on the more-or-less annual floods since 2012 (Vox Political was established in December 2011, so you can see that this is a regular problem that successive governments have done nothing to end).

It is government that is at fault, also – for allowing housing estates to be built on flood plains, in full knowledge that they will flood, filling homes with water and rendering residents’ belongings unusable, and for failing to install appropriate flood defences on rivers and other waterways.

The number of existing flood defences that are in disrepair has tripled since 2018. Who knows what the figure since 2012 might be?

This year there is the added issue of raw sewage that the government has allowed its privatised water companies to pump directly into rivers.

With high rainfall, these firms are unable to process drainwater properly and pumps much of it directly into the rivers, meaning more sewage is likely to have got into the environment and possibly – through flooding – into people’s homes.

Or am I mistaken about that?

Feargal Sharkey suggests I’m not:

The floods have affected cities, towns and villages across England. Take a look at some of the havoc that has been wreaked by Tory greed and incompetence:


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2023: year humanity exposed its inability to tackle climate crisis

Heat death: This Site reported in 2020 that the far north had experienced its hottest temperatures ever, with fires breaking out across the world.

As far as This Writer is concerned, the case for climate change was proved when I woke up on Christmas morning and discovered the temperature was 10C.

That’s more like spring, or early autumn, than the depths of winter!

Now we see scientists saying last year – 2023 – was the time when human beings proved we can’t tackle the climate crisis responsibly.

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According to them, as quoted in The Guardian:

“Not only did governments fail to stem global warming, the rate of global warming actually accelerated.”

That should be enough to prove that bribable politicians need to be taken away from the issue.

After what was probably the hottest July in 120,000 years, [former NASA scientist James] Hansen, whose testimony to the US Senate in 1988 is widely seen as the first high-profile revelation of global heating, warned that the world was moving towards a “new climate frontier” with temperatures higher than at any point over the past million years.

“The bright side of this clear dichotomy is that young people may realise that they must take charge of their future. The turbulent status of today’s politics may provide opportunity,” he said.

His comments are a reflection of the dismay among experts at the enormous gulf between scientific warnings and political action. It has taken almost 30 years for world leaders to acknowledge that fossil fuels are to blame for the climate crisis, yet this year’s United Nations Cop28 summit in Dubai ended with a limp and vague call for a “transition away” from them, even as evidence grows that the world is already heating to dangerous levels.

Scientists are still processing data from this blistering year. The latest to state it will be a record was the Japanese meteorological agency, which measured temperatures in 2023 at 0.53C above the global average between 1991 and 2020.

This was far above the previous record set in 2016, when temperatures were 0.35C above that average. Over the longer term, the world is about 1.2C hotter than in preindustrial times.

Berkeley Earth has predicted that average temperatures in 2023 will almost certainly prove to have been 1.5C higher than preindustrial levels. Although climate trends are based on decadal rather than annual measurements, many scientists say it is probably only a matter of time before the world overshoots the most ambitious of the Paris agreement targets.

Veteran climate watchers have been horrified at the pace of change. “The climate year 2023 is nothing but shocking, in terms of the strength of climate occurrences, from heatwaves, droughts, floods and fires, to rate of ice melt and temperature anomalies particularly in the ocean,” Prof Johan Rockström, the joint director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, said.

Source: World will look back at 2023 as year humanity exposed its inability to tackle climate crisis, scientists say | Climate crisis | The Guardian


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Apparently it is now illegal to sing satirical carols in the street

Members of Just Stop Oil have been threatened with arrest for singing Christmas carols – with altered lyrics to make them satirical, relevant to climate change – outside Keir Starmer’s house:

It’s certainly arguable that Just Stop Oil have done unacceptable things in the past – but is singing carols at Christmas really one of them?

Here’s a press release from the organisation:

Just Stop Oil supporters briefly gathered outside Keir Starmer’s house to sing ‘climate-criminal’ Christmas carols. They are demanding that, as the likely leader of the next UK government, Keir Starmer commit to cancelling all new oil and gas licences, including those already greenlit by the current government.

At around 8:30pm, a group of nine supporters of Just Stop Oil gathered outside Keir Starmer’s London residence to deliver a letter and to sing re-imagined versions of Christmas carols and popular songs- calling on Starmer to end all new oil, gas and coal projects in the UK. The supporters could be seen holding signs saying “Revoke Rosebank” and “Arrest the real criminals”.

Police ordered the group to disperse under section 42 of the criminal justice and police act and ordered them to leave the vicinity of the premises for three months or they would be arrested.

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Although Keir Starmer has stated that Labour will end new oil and gas projects in the UK, Labour has so far refused to cancel the new fossil fuel projects approved by Rishi Sunak’s government. This includes Rosebank, a project that is destined to emit more carbon into the atmosphere than 28 whole countries combined.

The carolers delivered a letter to Keir Starmer which can be read here.

One of those serenading Starmer this evening is Rory, from London, who is 25, and works as a secondary school teacher. He said:

“Beyond the culture wars and political point scoring, our world is at a crisis point. Our homes and our families are under threat. Our political system is failing us. At a time where bold leadership is required to deal with the multiple crises we face, Labour are promising more of the same. 

Failing to revoke new oil licences would be tantamount to ‘rubber-stamping’ the last ditch, ‘slash and burn’ actions of the current Tory leadership, who are hell-bent on enriching themselves and those they serve in the oil and gas lobby. This complicity is nothing short of a crime against humanity.”

Another of those ‘singing for Starmer’ is Rosie, aged 50, who works as an editor. She said:

“Starmer knows he needs to do the right thing for his children, and that is to cancel all new oil and gas licences if he gets to number 10. He is a former human rights lawyer, he should know the difference between right and wrong. 

History will not be kind to those who knew how bad the situation was with the climate, but allowed the extremists in the Tory party and oil lobby to destroy everything for their own selfish enrichment- killing millions in the process. The Tories have no mandate to issue these licences, and as PM, Starmer’s obligation is to serve the public who want action on the climate crisis now. ”

There have been 670 arrests of Just Stop Oil supporters since October 30th. There are currently three Just Stop Oil supporters in prison, two of which have been imprisoned for peacefully marching in the road. They join Marcus Decker, who has been imprisoned for over a year of his 2 years 7 months sentence. Fourteen Just Stop Oil supporters are currently under electronic tag surveillance.

Continued expansion of new oil and gas will bring about the wholesale destruction of ordered society and an end to the rule of law. We are not prepared to watch while the government continues to serve the interests of a few, at the expense of everyone else. It’s up to all of us to come together and resist. It is the will of the overwhelming majority of people that we take the actions necessary to ensure our survival and together we can make it happen.

Our government are the real criminals – imprisoning peaceful people for taking proportionate action to protect their communities, whilst licensing more than 100 new oil and gas projects, which will destroy everything we value. We’re coming together to demand an end to new oil and gas. It’s not a case of ‘if’ we will win; but ‘when’.


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Isn’t banning cigarettes government interfering in our lives?

So much for “we’re making sure government stays out of your life”!

Not two days after Rishi Sunak said those words, we learn he is planning a new law to increase the age at which people can smoke, to ultimately prevent sales to people born after a certain year:

Whitehall sources said the prime minister was looking at measures similar to those brought in by New Zealand last December. They involved steadily increasing the legal smoking age so tobacco would end up never being sold to anyone born on or after 1 January 2009.

I know what you’re most likely thinking: “But, Mike, smoking is a blight on the world that kills millions every year! ‘Cigareets is a blot on the whole human race/A man is a monkey with one in his face’! How can you oppose something that will ease pressure on the NHS?”

All these things are true.

But this is saying something very particular about Rishi Sunak and his government.

It’s saying they think it’s entirely unacceptable for individuals to be allowed to make a personal choice to gamble with their own health, and the government should act as nanny and take that choice away.

At the same time, it’s saying they think it is entirely acceptable for them to gamble with everybody’s health by ditching ‘Net Zero’ plans.

It’s the hypocrisy that I find unbearable. So much for the “party of choice”!

Source: Rishi Sunak considers banning cigarettes for next generation | Smoking | The Guardian


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New game: name all the ways the Tory government INTERFERES with your life

Tory interference in our lives: anti-protest laws were rushed into practice before the Coronation, so the police could be used to arrest peaceful protesters and take them off the streets.

I seem to have started something.

Yesterday (September 21), in response to Rishi Sunak’s televised trashing of non-existent ‘Net Zero’ policies which he justified by saying, “We’re making sure government stays out of your life,” I made a couple of points about how government does exactly the opposite:

Look at your energy bill. In return for the payments you make, you receive energy that comes from a number of different sources, including some that are highly polluting. For example: coal, nuclear, gas.

On a separate but related subject, look at the amount of plastic packaging you buy in your everyday grocery shopping, much of which is unnecessary and can end up polluting the environment.

These things happen because the government allows it. Indeed, among Sunak’s measures yesterday was a plan to continue allowing the sale of polluting petrol- and diesel-powered cars for an extra five years, until 2035. Who knows what some future prime minister will do then? Extend it to 2040?

Those are three ways the government interferes with our lives, right there.

But of course, I was missing the really big things that have happened lately. Here’s Peter Stefanovic:

Perhaps we should open this up for everybody to have a say?

You could make a game of it at home: sit in a circle with everybody challenged in turn to name a way the government interferes with their life.

If you are so disposed, it could be a drinking game, with people failing to think of an example taking a sip of their substance of choice (it doesn’t have to be alcohol).

It’ll help pass these lengthening autumn evenings.

And it will help remind us all of what hideous liars the Tories in our government are.


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Who needs climate change? Tories have gone into meltdown over Sunak’s ‘Net Zero’ changes

The Conservatives have gone into freefall over the ‘Net Zero’ announcements – we can’t call them changes – that Rishi Sunak announced yesterday (September 20, 2023).

Sure, there are a lot of messages on the social media from Tory MPs and Cabinet members, saying what a good job he made of it…

… but get ’em on the telly and they turn into jelly. Here’s Kemi Badenoch, unable to take in the fact that the poorest families don’t have ministerial cars and chauffeurs like she does:

Here’s George Eustace, giving up and openly admitting Sunak was playing fast-and-loose with the facts when he said he was axing policies:

And here’s Kwasi Kwarteng, basically losing it for no good reason. He says he doesn’t want to relive his time as Chancellor but that’s a pretty good summary of it, I would have thought:

For a change of pace, let’s have Peter Stefanovic’s critique of the prime minister himself, after Rishi Sunak made a fool of himself in a Tory promo video:

As an aside: the Tories have all spent the day banging on that they won’t dictate what the public can or can’t buy. This is nonsense.

Does anybody remember the ‘nudge unit’, that David Cameron used to … encourage … the British people into actions they would not otherwise have taken? Is Rishi not still using that?

Also: look at your energy bill. You don’t get to choose how the energy you buy is generated, and much of it comes from the burning of fossil fuels – coal and gas – or nuclear fission. All are hugely polluting and we don’t have any say at all about it.

So the government really does dictate what we can buy.

Still – in the middle of this pack of lies, who’d notice another one?


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