Tag Archives: Net Zero

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

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Lies, DAMNED lies and truth bombs: little Rishi’s BIG conference speech [VIDEO]

This is going to be part one of a series because Rishi Sunak turned out to be very long-winded, for such a short guy.

I was hoping to be able to run a quick video summary of his speech at the Conservative Propaganda Carnival – I mean, Party Conference, but… well, watch the clip and you’ll see me explain.

And please bookmark this article, or the clip on YouTube, so you can come back to it and check what he has said against what he does.

Here’s the clip (a new version; the original turned out to have a technical fault):


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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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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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Rishi Sunak has ‘scrapped’ Net Zero policies that didn’t exist

Rishi Sunak: another UK prime minister who has been caught lying to the public – and not for the first time.

“Nobody voted for Net Zero,” according to one of Rishi Sunak’s Tory cronies on ‘X’:

It’s a lie, of course. Policies to tackle climate change and bring the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions down to nothing were in both the Labour and Conservative manifestos for the 2019 general election, so 75.7 per cent of those who voted – more than 24 million people – voted for Net Zero.

On page 2 of the Tory manifesto, then-prime minister Boris Johnson stated: “I guarantee… reaching Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution.”

The actual policies themselves were as follows:

“We will invest in nature, helping us to reach our Net Zero target with a £640 million new Nature for Climate fund. Building on our support for creating a Great Northumberland Forest, we will reach an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year by the end of the next Parliament, as well as restoring our peatland” (page 45 – marked as page 43).

“Oil and gas sector deal: The oil and gas industry employs almost 300,000 people, of whom four in 10 work in Scotland. We believe that the North Sea oil and gas industry has a long future ahead and know the sector has a key role to play as we move to a Net Zero economy. We will support this transition in the next Parliament with a transformational sector deal” (page 48 – not marked but would have been marked as page 46).

“We will lead the global fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as advised by the independent Committee on Climate Change. We have doubled International Climate Finance. And we will use our position hosting the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2020 to ask our global partners to match our ambition” (page 57 – marked as page 55).

That’s the lot – four wishy-washy promises that don’t actually mean a lot.

So, now Rishy (-washy?) Sunak has announced that he is halting a series of Net Zero policies, he is rightly being pilloried for ending things that didn’t exist in the first place.

Check out the context note on Sunak’s own ‘X’ post about his changes:

Depending on which version of the above you see, it may refer to the Tory government’s own Net Zero strategy, that was published in 2021, nearly two years after the general election, comes to 368 pages, and doesn’t mention any of the measures Sunak reckons he’s scrapping.

Alternatively, it may point out that “Taxes on meat and flying had already been repeatedly ruled out by the Government. There is no proposal to require people to have seven bins, or for ‘compulsory’ car sharing. The announced changes on insulation only stand to benefit private landlords.”

The BBC’s Nick Robinson – himself a Conservative, let’s remember – absolutely hammered Sunak as a liar in an interview on the BBC’s Today programme:

Sunak’s parting shot, about being “honest” about the way to get to Net Zero, rings hollow in the context of what had gone before.

So let us be clear: the Conservatives did have a series of policies for the UK to reach Net Zero and the electorate did vote for them – but none of those policies were part of the package that he scrapped yesterday (September 20, 2023).

Coupled to all this is a ridiculous claim – exemplified in the words of Priti Patel, below – that the government does not dictate whether UK citizens support polluters or not:

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?


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Who’s paying Rishi Sunak to delay Net Zero policies?

This is fine: Rishi Sunak will burn down not only your house but your country and planet if he thinks he can get something out of it.

Rishi Sunak has hastily announced delays to headline Tory ‘Net Zero’ policies in what’s being called an attempt to create dividing lines between his government and opposition parties.

That indicates two things to This Writer, immediately:

Firstly, he has realised that Keir Starmer’s Labour really is a Substitute Tory Party now – and is afraid that, untarnished by 13 years of disastrous policies that have failed the people of the UK, that STP will seize power and start taking money from the donors who have been paying him.

Secondly, creating dividing lines between his govenrment and other parties is a pathetically weak excuse for scrapping policies designed to save us from climate meltdown. Is there an ulterior motive – connected with cash from fossil fuel or automotive firms?

The rationalisations simply don’t ring true. According to the BBC:

The government could not impose “unacceptable costs” linked to reducing emissions on British families, he said.

But what is the direct cost to the public of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in 2030? Why are electric vehicles assumed to be more expensive?

It’s not as if the national grid won’t be able to take the strain; we already have an assurance that it will:

Why is fossil fuel heating for off-gas-grid homes being extended by nine years, to 2035? Who complained – families who will have been planning to change their systems, or fossil fuel firms?

Why do poorer households require an exemption from the ban on the sale of new gas boilers in 2035? Won’t they just get something else and stretch out the payments to make them affordable as necessary? Isn’t that how such changes have always been managed in the past?

And why are landlords being let off a requirement to ensure all rental properties have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of grade C or higher, from 2025? That’s not helping poor people but rich landlords!

Raising the Boiler Upgrade Grant by 50 per cent to £7,500 to help households who want to replace their gas boilers appears to be the only sensible idea in the package.

Put it all together and the winners are the car companies, the fossil fuel firms and landlords – not the poor. Even if these corporate and business concerns aren’t actually handing over money to the Tories, one has to question what pressure they have exerted here.

Sunak himself went on the record to say democratic debate is required. But who did he ask to contribute to that debate before coming up with these decisions that will profit the polluters?

Remember: converting to renewable energy will be cheaper for the consumer. As Ash Sarkar points out in the clip immediately below (in spite of Andrea Jenkyns and her ignorance), fossil fuel supplies from abroad are subject to price shocks; home-produced energy won’t be:

The changes announced now – with more said to be on the way later in the autumn – mean uncertainty, not only for the public but for industry as well. Jamie Driscoll makes an excellent point about that:

Among the future announcements is said to be a refusal to tax air fares in order to discourage flying. Here’s why that is bad:

Still, what can you expect from an “ivory tower” Tory like Sunak who flies to the vast majority of his foreign engagement in a private jet that is 14 times more polluting than normal flights?

What’s really interesting is the implication that Sunak was pushed into delaying the ban on the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by Liz Truss – and the possibility that his fellow Tories are upset about it and may try to oust him because of it:

The headline on this article suggests that Sunak might be taking money somehow, in order to induce him to make these changes. The suggestion that his own MPs may try to push him out of Downing Street because of it makes this seem more likely.

I would sincerely like to be mistaken, for an obvious reason:

A bit of extra cash for one avaricious toad of a man is no justification for condemning a population to climate change hell.


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