Category Archives: Climate change

Pregnant protest against fossil fuels and climate change in central London

After scientists said the UK is already suffering disruptive climate change, six pregnant women held a powerful demonstration demanding an end to fossil fuel use.

The latest UK State of the Climate report states that 2020 was the third warmest, fifth wettest and eighth sunniest on record; no other year is in the top 10 on all three criteria.

Within 30 years, the UK has become 0.9C warmer and six per cent wetter.

Fossil fuel use is widely considered to be responsible – and that’s why six women stood, bellies bared, in Piccadilly Circus, on the morning of July 31, drawing attention to Extinction Rebellion’s demand for an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects.

The words ‘My Future’ were printed on their bumps and they held a giant ‘umbilical cord’, connected to a petrol pump and nozzle as they made their demand for a cleaner world for their unborn children.

Many people attack XR because the organisation’s demonstrations are often highly disruptive (the point being that climate change – if allowed to go unchecked – is even more disruptive). But these mums-to-be have a point, don’t they?

Tiger Lily Raphael, who is nine months pregnant, said: “I am crippled with concern for the state of my unborn child’s world. It feels like my child is being failed before their life has even begun because of the lack of meaningful Government action on the climate and ecological crisis.

“The climate is changing because we continue to burn fossil fuels, but the UK Government currently has no policies in place to end them.

“I am accountable as a parent and a citizen and so I am here demanding that the Government use their power to stop the harm by putting an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects.

“Public money should be spent on protecting us and our children. Please don’t let our children suffer the consequences of Boris’ lack of action.”

XR’s article about the protest said there will be an opportunity to make significant change at the COP 26 summit this year:

“The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.

“At the summit, delegates including heads of state, climate experts and negotiators will come together to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.

“The COP26 homepage states: ‘Temperatures are soaring. Storms are raging. And crops are failing. If we do not take this chance, every single one of us will be affected.’

“This reality is known to the UK government, which holds the presidency of the COP26 Global Climate Summit in November, but it has failed to act with the urgency dictated by the crisis.

“Extreme weather is becoming the norm and the UK is not prepared. Babies and children are particularly vulnerable.

“The World Health Organization estimates that over 80 per cent of the illnesses, injuries, and deaths occurring due to climate change are in children, particularly those living in poor and under-served areas.

“Climate change threatens children’s futures around the world.”

Source: Six pregnant women bare their bumps at Piccadilly Circus, demanding an end to fossil fuels – Extinction Rebellion UK

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G7 to cut down on burning coal. What about that mine in Cumbria that Boris Johnson supports?

Climate change champion? How can anybody believe Boris Johnson wants to reduce carbon emissions when he turned up at the G7 conference that announced an end to coal power in a chartered jet that put out five times the emissions a train causes?

The G7 weekend has turned into a terrible nightmare for Boris Johnson, hasn’t it?

He was slapped up and down the Cornish coast for signing a Brexit trade deal containing a Northern Ireland protocol that threatens the peace there, which he didn’t bother to read first.

He wouldn’t talk about his religion – because he couldn’t?

The G7 agreed to tax multinational corporations fairly – and Johnson’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak immediately asked for the City of London to be exempt.

And now he has to announce that he has agreed to phase out coal power – while also supporting the construction of a new coal mine in Cumbria.

The contradictions come out of this man so fast I’m amazed his tongue hasn’t tied itself in knots*.

The coal announcement came from the White House, which said it was the first time the leaders of wealthy nations had committed to keeping the projected global temperature rise to 1.5C.

That requires a range of urgent policies, chief among them being phasing out coal burning unless it includes carbon capture technology.

Coal is the world’s dirtiest major fuel and ending its use is seen as a major step by environmentalists, but they also want guarantees rich countries will deliver on previous promises to help poorer nations cope with climate change.

The G7 will end the funding of new coal generation in developing countries and offer up to £2bn ($2.8bn)to stop using the fuel.

But only five days before this, Sky News reported that the people of Whitehaven, in Cumbria, were urging Johnson to press ahead with the planned coal mine there because they need the jobs.

And that’s fair enough, because Johnson was all in favour of it back in February. Otherwise he could have told Robert Jenrick to block planning permission for it.

The BBC report of the time is hilarious in hindsight, because it focused on a leading climate scientist, James Hansen, warning that Johnson risked humiliation if he didn’t stop the mine from being built.

And now he is caught in a humiliating double-standard.

The G7 announcement – although far too vague for comfort – demands that coal be phased out in the 2030s.

But the Cumbria mine indicates a commitment to the emissions caused by coking coal until 2049 (because that’s the limit of the planning permission that was granted). That’s 14 years after all coking of coal must end in the UK, if the country is to meet its climate change targets.

I look forward to hearing him – or his more intelligent spokespeople at the Cabinet Office – talk his way out of this one.

That’s if he can get those knots out of his tongue.

*And wouldn’t it improve his speeches enormously if it did?

Source: G7 to agree tough measures on burning coal to tackle climate change – BBC News

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How could police raid G7 activist’s home without warrant or reason?

Police: it seems they are expanding their powers unilaterally, so they can harass you even before you have given them any reason to.

It seems Boris Johnson’s fascist government has decided to accelerate its attack on your right to protest by putting planned restrictions on your freedom into action before legislation has passed through Parliament.

How else are we to understand the raid at G7 activist Rob Higgs’s Cornwall home, workplace and the business where he keeps his boat, last Thursday (May 13)?

Rob, who is a theatre maker and co-founder of climate action group Ocean Rebellion, said of the raids: “They searched the premises without any warrants, interviewing all my neighbours and tenants, asking about me, what I do and telling people at the boatyard that I am a ‘person of interest’.

He told CornwallLive: “The police’s quote was, ‘We’re just letting you know that we will not in any way stop peaceful protest but we can arrest you at any time that we believe you might be considering disrupting the G7 Summit’, which wouldn’t be legal as normally you’ve got to break a law to be arrested, unless what they’re hinting at is conspiracy charges.

He added: “It’s because I’m a co-founder of Ocean Rebellion, which is an entirely peaceful, legal organisation trying to raise awareness of the oceans.

“We basically make photo shoots and small pop-up theatrical performances that gets good media and global coverage about ocean degradation and how the seas are dying. We’re trying to raise awareness of that and push legislation from the UN to reverse the ocean degradation.

“For the last few months the G7 police have been asking what our plans are and made contact early on saying they’d like to facilitate a peaceful protest. We said ‘thanks but generally you stop it whenever we tell you what we’re doing.’

“We’ve got a dedicated police liaison officer already who has been in discussion with them for months now trying to get them to tell us what we can and can’t do and where we can and can’t go, and we will design all our actions around that to stay within the legal frameworks. I don’t want to break any laws.

“They have refused to let us know, specifically on the water, where the exclusion zones are. They come back to our police liaison officer asking what we’re planning and we tell them we can’t say until they tell us where we can do it!”

Mr Higgs is filing an official complaint to the police and had also taken it up with the Cabinet Office.

What a bizarre situation – it seems the police are being deliberately obstructive of these campaigners’ attempt to mount legal protest, in order to have a reason to arrest them!

I think it would be hard to make a conspiracy charge stick when this group has a police liaison officer who has been trying to plan legal activities but has been foiled by the police’s refusal to co-operate in any way.

But it seems clear in any event that the police are being used as political tools – sent to harass this organisation in order to frustrate its efforts.

And what is the terrible, terrorist act that Ocean Rebellion wants to do?

It wants to raise awareness of the fatal effects of climate change and pollution on sea life – effects that will eventually impact on human beings like you and me in possibly catastrophic ways.

Bang goes Boris Johnson’s attempt to claim environmental credibility.

I can’t wait to hear him try to justify it but I bet he won’t even acknowledge that it has happened.

Source: G7 summit activist in Cornwall files complaint after police ‘raid’ his home and work – Cornwall Live

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‘Major Corruption’ mocked by Greta Thunberg over ‘bunny hugger’ stupidity

Too late, Johnson, you’ve already said it: and the prime minister may have cause to regret calling climate activists “bunny huggers” for some time to come.

I wonder how Tim Fenton of Zelo Street, and anyone else who got there first, feel about the BBC lifting this story?

Personally, I wouldn’t mind. The more people who get to see what an absolutely dunderhead Boris Johnson really is, the better.

But for the record, the Zelo Street story was posted at 10.38am, while the BBC’s version dropped a few hours later. It seems clear somebody at the Corporation realised it was newsworthy belatedly, after picking up on that story – or a similar one elsewhere that This Writer hasn’t seen.

The story is a cracker, and Tim broke it wonderfully.

Johnson tried to play the clown at the current climate summit – but fell flat on his globe-sized arse:

It’s vital for all of us to show that this is not all about some expensive, politically correct, green act of … er … of … er … of bunny hugging.

Er, or, er, however you want to put it, I call it bunny hugging, but you know what I’m driving at, friends and colleagues.

“What a complete and utter numpty,” as Zelo Street observed.

Shortly afterward, this appeared on teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg’s Twitter account:

The BBC article hits the same notes but excises all the er-ing from Johnson’s comments.

All of which just goes to show that, if you want to know what’s going on, you should be following social media sites like Zelo Street (and this one) – and that and 18-year-old girl can get the better of Johnson, any time she likes.

Source: Greta Thunberg becomes ‘bunny hugger’ on Twitter – BBC News

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If the long-awaited Environment Bill has to be delayed, why not use the time to make it useful?

Pollution: the Bill will contain provisions to improve air quality – but not in the immediate future, and the watchdog body it will set up is unlikely to have any teeth.

Do you think it’s bizarre that our government(s) tell us constantly that their actions are for the good of the country, but they always seem to postpone anything for the good of the planet?

The case in point is the decision to postpone, yet again, an Environment Bill that has been waiting for a reading in the House of Commons since 2018.

Campaigners say the delay will harm action to lessen air pollution and improve water quality.

Ministers say the delay is necessary because of the amount of time being taken up by the Covid-19 crisis.

Dispassionate onlookers might say this discussion seems pointless anyway, as Boris Johnson’s government has resoundingly failed to cope with the pandemic on any meaningful level.

The Bill sets out a framework by which ministers can impose new targets on vital issues like air pollution and water quality, waste, resource use and biodiversity, which were previously regulated under EU directives.

But the bill as it stands makes these into long-term targets, meaning direct efforts to cut pollution may be left in limbo.

If passed into law, the legislation will create a new Office for Environmental Protection – a watchdog body that campaigners fear will not be sufficiently independent or powerful under the current bill.

The bill also includes measures to ensure consumers in the UK no longer contribute to the destruction of vast swaths of forested land overseas, through new rules intended to stop the import of goods to the UK from areas of illegally deforested land. UK businesses will need to show that the products they source that could come from at-risk areas – wood, but also soy, palm oil, beef, leather and other key commodities – are from supply chains free from deforestation. Breaches of the rules will incur fines.

So all in all, the Bill looks like reducing, rather than increasing, environmental protections.

It seems to This Writer that, if it must be delayed, then this is an opportunity to do some background work.

I remember hearing that US president Lyndon Johnson used to do much of his work in the backrooms of Congress, persuading (I won’t speculate on his methods) Congresspeople to support his laws – or finding ways to make them acceptable.

Perhaps if the Tories currently working on the Environment Bill – Rebecca Pow is named in the Guardian report – spend the spring and summer polishing it up to ensure that there are quantifiable short- and medium-term targets, and their new Office for Environmental Protection actually has the clout to live up to its name, then the amount of discussion time in Parliament could be cut down, the Bill could sail through and everybody will be (belatedly) happy.

But that may be too much like common sense.

Source: Fury as long-awaited UK environment bill is delayed for third time | Environment | The Guardian

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Is the United States getting serious about climate change? If so, it could be a game-changer

It seems Joe Biden wants to tackle the climate crisis. Perhaps he sees it as a way to make his mark on history.

If so, he is to be applauded. If the United States commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, it will take a lot of pressure from smaller countries – and pile it onto larger economies like China, Russia and India.

And while the UK has paid lip-service to climate commitments, the influence of America could force Boris Johnson (and his successors) to pay closer attention to making sure they are honoured.

This is another good news story. Perhaps the tide is turning at last.

The US will hold a climate summit of the world’s major economies early next year, within 100 days of Joe Biden taking office, and seek to rejoin the Paris agreement on the first day of his presidency, in a boost to international climate action.

Leaders from 75 countries met without the US in a virtual Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the UN, the UK and France at the weekend, marking the fifth anniversary of the Paris accord. The absence of the US underlined the need for more countries, including other major economies such as Brazil, Russia and Indonesia, to make fresh commitments on tackling the climate crisis.

Source: US to hold world climate summit early next year and seek to rejoin Paris accord | Climate change | The Guardian

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Blockade of printworks highlights the fact: the UK does NOT have a ‘free press’

Blockade: Extinction Rebellion members at a Murdoch print works.

Could you feel the Establishment rage at being told its propaganda mouthpieces aren’t providing us with the news?

It seems 72 members of Extinction Rebellion did, after they were arrested in protests targeting three printing installations owned by Rupert Murdoch.

Why does he need three? Because he owns too many newspapers and they all print what he wants – not what the people need to know.

So the disruption at Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, Knowsley in Merseyside, and near Motherwell, North Lanarkshire hit the distribution of his publications including The Sun, The Times, The Scottish Sun, along with those belonging to some of the few other billionaires who own the UK’s national press, including the Daily Telegraph (Barclay brothers), Daily Mail (Jonathan Harmsworth – Viscount Rothermere), and the Evening Standard (Evgeny Lebedev).

Do you really think any of these moguls will let their papers publish anything they don’t want you to think?

This Writer is reminded of the words of the late, great Tony Benn – that nobody should be allowed to own more than one newspaper. Then we would at least have a more free press than we have now.

Further to this, consider the onslaught under which those of us in the social media have to work every day. We don’t have the massive advertising resources of the Murdochs of this world, so we have to rely on organisations like Twitter and Facebook to spread our message virally.

And organisations like Facebook and Twitter respond by suppressing us. Facebook has an algorithm designed to push posts from left-wing news sites down people’s newsfeeds so they don’t see them.

This Site is currently having to cope with an 84 per cent drop in income due to its articles being suppressed in this way. One commenter on the Vox Political Facebook page said it had been so long since they had seen a link to one of my articles, they thought I had given up!

But if you check the “Archives” list to the left of these words, you’ll see that Vox Political has been publishing articles continuously – every day, barring a few rare exceptions – for years.

The only reason people don’t see links to my posts is because somebody else doesn’t want them to.

Yet Boris Johnson and all the other hypocrites only complain about attacks on the “free press” when their propaganda sheets take the hit.

Just look at the nonsense spoken about this by the Establishment stooges quoted in the BBC’s story – and where possible, let’s contrast it with what Extinction Rebellion has to say about these people:

Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.

“It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.”

Have you seen that from the Murdoch press, the Torygraph, the Heil and the Standard in response to the decisions of his government – the worst Tory government ever to blight the United Kingdom? No.

 

Shadow Secretary of State for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, Jo Stephens, said: “People have the right to read the newspapers they want.

“Stopping them from being distributed and printers from doing their jobs is wrong.”

People also deserve to be told what their money is supporting, though. It isn’t fair to let them go on paying these propagandists without knowing exactly what they’re buying.

ER has been scathing about Starmer Labour’s “business as usual” approach:

This is worth reading too:

Actually, let’s go into this a bit because Labour’s position, under Keir Starmer, frankly, stinks.

Dawn Butler, Labour’s Brent MP who has suffered racism from the police, from her own constituents, and from members of her own party (if a certain leaked report is to be believed – and I do), tweeted in support of XR – and was then ordered to take it down by Starmer’s minions:

Could anything demonstrate Starmer’s Establishment credentials better? He must not be allowed to get anywhere near 10 Downing Street because he’ll only stamp on all our faces harder than Johnson (to paraphrase Orwell).

Here’s what Starmer’s – and Labour’s – response to her tweet should have been:

Let’s just put the seal on this:

Right. Back to the Tories:

And Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted the overnight action by XR was an “attack on democracy”.

Obviously there are too many sharp responses to Patel for me to publish here, so I’ll restrict myself to pointing out that she has nothing to say about attacks on the left-wing social media – which would be an “attack on democracy” by the same token.

Here’s ER:

The bosses and editors of the newspapers involved have all condemned the action; they would, though, wouldn’t they? I see no reason to comment on their words.

Extinction Rebellion itself has made it clear that the blockade was a response to the so-called ‘free press’ suppressing reports on climate change and the ecological emergency it represents.

A report on its own website states: “The groups are using disruption to expose the failure of these corporations to accurately report on the climate & ecological emergency, and their consistent manipulatIon of the truth to suit their own personal and political agendas.

“The right wing media is a barrier to the truth, failing to reflect the scale and urgency of the crisis and hold governments to account. Coverage in many of the newspapers printed here is polluting national debate on climate change, immigration policy, the rights and treatment of minority groups, and on dozens of other issues. They distract us with hate and maintain their own power and wealth, profiting from our division. We can’t move forward until this barrier falls.

“Five billionaires are the majority voting shareholders for most of the UK national newspapers, with a combined weekly readership of 49million. Three companies alone (News UK, DMG and Reach) dominate 83% of the national newspaper market (up from 71% in 2015). This small group of extremely powerful people manipulate the media narrative to serve their own ends.”

Is it really a free press if it is only used to put us in chains?

The response on the social media has been very clear on that:

And some have made the important point that Tories like Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have actually avoided passing laws to ensure press freedom:

That’s right.

If the press really is free and fair, why have the Tories spent years blocking a full public examination of its wrongdoing?

Source: Extinction Rebellion protesters block newspaper printing presses – BBC News

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Heatwave exposes failures of Tory UK to cope with climate change

Heat death: the far north has experienced its hottest temperatures ever, with fires breaking out across the world. But the Tories see no need to adapt to climate change and Keir Starmer has abandoned Labour’s policies to deal with it.

This Site received a strange response to the article on Tory class war yesterday (August 14), to the effect that I should be writing about climate change instead. In fact, the two are intertwined.

The Conservatives don’t accept climate change because the changes that acceptance would require would bite into the profits of their donors – and therefore into their own funds.

The recent/current heatwave has brought the issue into sharp focus. This Writer has been stewing, every day – and the nightly thunderstorms, while entertaining, didn’t make up for the fact that it has been hard to concentrate.

It seems I am not alone.

Our buildings are unsuited to hot weather; they were made to keep heat in during the winter. There is still no legal requirement to ensure homes, hospitals, schools or care homes are designed for the current or future climate – and under the Tories I do not believe there every will be.

It costs too much.

Parts of England are set to run out of water soon, because the Tories privatised water provision and the new companies fell into the hands of foreign government-owned franchises that have taken huge profits but invested nothing.

Our transport and energy networks are also facing crisis – look at the Stonehaven derailment which has been blamed on a landslip after heavy rain.

What is the government doing? It’s making matters worse.

Rishi Sunak has announced a £2 billion fund to make homes more energy efficient, with the cash going towards insulation – but the wrong insulation can turn a house into a heat trap.

And Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is no help with Keir Starmer at the helm. He has abandoned Jeremy Corbyn’s ambitious plans to combat climate change because he thinks they’re unpopular with the voters.

We’re facing a wholesale failure in thought and deed by our leaders.

And when the fabric of the nation falls (even further) apart as a result, who do you think will get the blame?

We will.

Source: UK infrastructure inadequate for climate emergency, experts warn | Environment | The Guardian

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Starmer may drop Labour’s net zero emissions climate target – to win elections

Heat death: Siberia is burning now – who knows what it will be like in 10 years’ time? But Keir Starmer wants to win elections so the environment can go hang.

It seems Keir Starmer thinks letting the planet burn in order to win an election is a fair exchange. Take a look:

Labour could drop the ambitious 2030 climate crisis target it adopted under Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s new leadership has said.

A spokesperson for Keir Starmer said that he had supported the plans included in Labour’s last manifesto, but that the party had lost the election.

The Green New Deal policy adopted under the previous leadership included the aim of a path to net zero carbon by the year 2030, based largely on massive public investment in green technology.

Apparently Starmer isn’t keen on investing in any future – apart from his own, maybe.

Given a choice between socialism and corporatism, it seems clear which Starmer would choose.

Since This Writer read the story, I’ve had words from a song running around my head:

So take me home to the red red skies
And the brown, brown grass
And the black, black seas,
The broken glass and the dead, dead trees

By a curious coincidence, the song is called Roses.

Whoever would have thought it referred to the Labour rose?

Source: Keir Starmer could drop Labour’s 2030 net zero climate target | The Independent

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How we can use measures to tackle COVID-19 to beat climate change

A guest article by Harry Fenton.

While governments across the world have responded swiftly to the COVID-19 pandemic with unprecedented lockdowns and restrictions, there has been no urgency by them or the global community to address climate change – which is a huge threat we have known about since the 1980s and have had plenty of time to do something about it.

While COVID-19 is a short-term crisis causing many illnesses and deaths as well as temporary economic damage, climate change is a long-term threat to humanity and the planet which could cause lasting damage to both if we don’t get a grip.

Prince Charles rightly called for the same level of response to climate change as coronavirus at a WaterAid event in March but this doesn’t mean we need lockdowns, social distancing or travel restrictions to tackle climate change.

With most of us being told to work from home for social distancing, air pollution around the world has plummeted with far fewer people travelling every day – so we should encourage home working after the lockdown.

Now that many larger employers have adapted their IT systems to make home working possible in response to the virus, they could be required to let people work from home if their job allows them to.

Governments would be able to invest more in super-fast broadband, funded by cancelling environmentally destructive transport infrastructure projects such as HS2.

Not only would this permanently reduce air pollution, people would have more free time and save money from not commuting twice a day and they would have more control over their working conditions so this will improve quality of life for millions of people.

To reduce the need for personal travel even more, public and private services could offer virtual appointments to service users through video calling applications such as Skype, which are being relied upon as we follow social distancing guidelines.

They could be used for many professional appointments including medical consultations, financial and legal appointments and job interviews but we could go as far as using them for juries and witnesses in court and for people who want to see their close friends and family who are in hospital or prison but can’t be there in person.

If this becomes widespread, people would save even more of their precious free time and this would be less stressful for people going through difficult times as they could discuss sensitive matters from the comfort of their own home.

Another key measure many governments have used to enforce social distancing has been to shut down ‘non-essential’ businesses at short notice so, if they have the will to do this, in response to a serious threat, why can’t they shut down parts of non-essential industries that are major contributors to climate change?

On my list would be the “fast fashion” industry, worth 10 per cent of global emissions, where clothes are only made to last a season, single use plastics manufacturers and intensive animal farming which, apart from being inhumane, is the most polluting part of the agricultural sector, worth nearly 20 per cent of global emissions.

The shutdown of these industries would need to be done in a controlled way over a period of time to mitigate the effect on the economy, give those workers time to find employment elsewhere and give them the financial support and retraining to help them do that.

Closing those three sub-industries alone would significantly reduce global emissions and our environmental impact without affecting the needs of the vast majority of people.

Travel restrictions have also been a major part of Coronavirus measures across the world and though we will need some travel restrictions to fight climate change, they wouldn’t be anywhere near as strict and they would focus on the usage of certain modes of transport, not on people’s movements.

The main restriction ought to be banning cars in large towns and cities once public transport provision is significantly improved, as most people live in major urban areas and most transport emissions come from cars. Last year, almost 30 per cent of the EU’s emissions came from transport, 60 per cent of which come from cars.

We could also ban flights of less than 400 miles and ration the number of flights for personal travel to two return flights a year and the same for business travel. That way, we can cut the majority of transport emissions while ensuring that people in major urban areas can travel around, people can carry out occasional business flights if necessary and people can still go on foreign holidays each year.

Clearly, we can swiftly implement measures to combat climate change that are much more radical than those that have been implemented to date – without destroying the global economy and without a significant change in most people’s quality of life.

Not doing enough to combat climate change will, in the long term, damage the global economy and the quality of life of billions of people throughout the world.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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