Monday, February 17, 2020

Flooding is not a government priority.

Six years ago, in February 2014, I wrote a couple of pieces relating to the floods then affecting particularly the Somerset Levels. At the time the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, standing in a puddle in his wellies, spoke of money not being a barrier and promising sufficient government spending to deal with the issue.

Today government ministers and Environment Officials are again standing in soggy spots wearing wellies assuring the public they are on the case, spending more than ever and planning to spend even more to keep us all dry in our homes.

Nearly £5bn is earmarked to be spent on flood defences in England over the next six years. Compare and contrast with spending on HS2. I'm not saying it is necessarily an either/or question, but when numbers involving billions are concerned it's useful to have some comparisons to get a handle on the magnitudes. (NHS spending is about £130 billion per year.)

The data are here.

Are government priorities correct? How should government compare the misery and economic harm of ordinary folk flooded out of the homes with cutting journey times from London to Birmingham and beyond?

Dealing with uncertainty is a critical feature of our times, but little attention is given to its serious consideration. The Royal Society is addressing this with its conference 'Confronting Radical Uncertainty' in April 2020.

What we can reasonably assume to be certain is that global heating will continue through this century, sailing through the 1.5° and 2°C targets. For the British Isles the consequence will be to increase the frequency of extreme weather events and to increase their severity.

With the current 1°C of warming, we ain't seen nothing yet.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

What About the Miners?

I was at a little climate demo in Horncastle yesterday, a bit of joint affair between FridaysForFuture, Extinctinction Rebellion The Labour Party and others, under the banner of Horncastle Climate Action.

I got chatting about future XR actions, particularly at the Pont Valley coal mine in County Durham to somebody carrying a Labour Party placard.

She was, she explained, someone who absolutely understood the climate emergency. But (is it something deeply ingrained in the psyche of Labour members?) she was concerned about the jobs and livelihoods of the coal-miners.

Well, yes, I sympathised, but there will be no jobs and livelihoods for anyone if we don't stop burning the black stuff. Stopping coal mining comes first and then we must address the issue of social justice and the rest that is at the core of Labour's existence.

My conversation should not have stopped there. We should have gone on to discuss the fact that everything has to change. But I'm not sure that some folk, even though they say the 'get' the climate issue, are not ready for this, Everything has to change. It's not just a handful of coal-mining jobs. There are oil workers, gas workers, gas fitters, people who make car engines, car salesmen, aircrew, travel agents... every job in every industry in which fossil carbon is burnt. And that is very nearly every job.

It's not about the miners. Everything has to change.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Coronavirus 4

(Maybe read the previous items in this series on coronavirus first - links on the right.)

Professor Julian Hiscox is Chair in Infection and Global Health at the University of Liverpool, so that's about as expert as they come. He was talking on Radio 4 Today Programme this morning and a 7.56 said this:

"To me this virus is more like a slightly bad strain of influenza virus and between 6000 and 10000 people each year in the UK die of flu depending on the particular flu strain through the flu season and I think if you're worried about something make sure your flu shots are up to date and then worry about this disease afterwards."

There's a fine line between not frightening the horses and being complacently unprepared for a potential disaster, and Professor Hiscox seems to have decided that this is not the moment to point out that 2019-nCoV might be as deadly as the flu pandemic at the end on World War One that killed between 50 and 100 million, between 3 and 6 % of the then global population.

Of course it might not turn out anything like that serious, but the truth is that we don't yet know.

Were we to apply the precautionary principle enthusiastically, we would be making personal preparations now, planning how to avoid infection in our daily lives. Such planning might be a waste of effort or it might ave lives

Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Social Care issued this press release, announcing new regulations to impose restrictions on any individual considered by health professionals to be at risk of spreading the virus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

I will do everything in my power to keep people in this country safe. We are taking every possible step to control the outbreak of coronavirus.

NHS staff and others will now be supported with additional legal powers to keep people safe across the country. The transmission of coronavirus would constitute a serious threat - so I am taking action to protect the public and isolate those at risk of spreading the virus.

Clinical advice has not changed about the risk to the public, which remains moderate. We are taking a belt and braces approach to all necessary precautions to ensure public safety.

Our infection control procedures are world leading – what I am announcing today further strengthens our response.

The regulations have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country.
So that's all right then.

This is a molecular illustration of a 2019 novel Coronavirus comparative model
Source: Gianluca Tomasello 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Coronavirus 3

9th February 2020

In Part 1 and Part 2 of these little thoughts on 2019-nCoV, I discussed some key issues where the data is still woefully lacking, the case fatality rate and the reproduction number, RO, which tells us how easily the infection spreads.

The outbreak is a live experiment in how humanity deals with the precautionary principle. We still lack the basic information that leads to any certainty between an epidemic that quickly loses its virulence and peters out relatively harmlessly, or one that becomes a global pandemic, infecting a large proportion of the world's population, not ending until most folk have either recovered with their resistance built up or are dead.

It's instructive to consider for a moment the rather different pandemic around the end of the First World War. Between 1917 and 1920 H1N1, known as 'Spanish Flu' infected over a quarter of the world's population. Estimates of fatalities range from 50 to 100 million, some 3 to 6 % of the then population. For background on this start at Wikipedia.

Of course medical science has progressed over the past century. Patient care and treatment of secondary consequences has improved. Some of the already available anti-viral drugs may prove effective against 2019-nCoVn and a vaccine may be developed over the coming month. Or it might not.

The precautionary principle demands, in the face of a potential catastrophe facing a billion people or more, that everything potentially useful be tried to slow and halt any emerging pandemic. Now is perhaps not the moment to worry about the supply chain of parts in the motor manufacturing industry, but rather to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry has all the resources that it can usefully use, that the healthcare systems are as good as they can be and that population are kept informed with the best information available.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Coronavirus 2

8th February 2020

In the previous blog I suggested that a key issue in determining the mortality rate of 2019-nCoV was the lag time between infection and death.  We are not yet sure what it is, but the longer the gap the greater will be the likely mortality rate. And neither do we know the true number of people who have been infected. It is bound to be much higher than recorded but the bigger the number the lower will be the likely mortality rate.

Another key issue is how easily the virus jumps from person to person. In the case of the current outbreak we don't yet have good data on that though it seems to spread more easily than MERS did. The MERS virus seemed to peter out after spreading to several successive people. There's no sign that 2019-nCoV is doing that yet.

The key measure is the reproduction number, RO, the average number of other people that any individual with the virus will infect. We don't yet know what this is, but estimates have put it between about 2 and 4. For an epidemic to stop the RO number needs to be less than 1. The common influenza has an RO just about 1.3 and the value for SARS was 2.

Noting that all data are subject to error, accidental or deliberate, the Woldometer  website  is supplying a constantly updated set of data on the progression of this coronavirus outbreak.

Friday, February 07, 2020


7th February 2020

When it was first suggested that UK nationals should be flown out Wuhan, I remarked that it might be better if all international flights were grounded, reducing both the speed of infection spread and our carbon emissions.

There is a key point being missed in the reports about the death of Li Wenliang, the doctor who called, in late December, for greater measures to prevent the infection spreading, and was criticised by his government for his pains.

This report in the Guardian ends thus:

"But in early January he treated a woman with glaucoma without realising she was also a coronavirus patient; he appears to have been infected during the operation."

The time between infection and death in this single case appears to have been around five weeks.

One of the major factors determining whether 2019nCoV peters out relatively harmlessly or becomes a global pandemic that kills ten of millions of people, is the mortality rate. This has not yet been confidently determined. It is likely to be higher if there is a big time-lag between the time of infection and the time of death. If there is a longer time-lag then more of people who have been infected already will succumb and the eventual outcome worldwide looks more grim.

People should know about this sort of stuff.

Picture from Medscape

Here's an interview, from 5th February, with Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, discussing the situation and how we deal with uncertainty when the stakes are so high.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Wealth, Whence and Whither.

Wealth, Whence and Whither, and the basis for funding a Universal Basic Income.

From where does wealth arise and to where does it (should it) go?

There are three sources of wealth creation:

1. Land
2. Capital
3. Labour

'Land' in this context doesn't just mean the ground, but all the stuff we get from the natural environment, such as minerals that are mined and quarried, energy from fossil carbon, radioactivity, wind and sun, and food grown from the soil. It is essentially the province of the primary industries, mining, agriculture, fishing and energy.

'Capital' is the machinery, factories, buildings and infrastructure used to convert 'Land' into things we actually want to use. It is either owned by individuals, capitalists, or by the state or other community enterprises. The employment of 'Capital' adds value to 'Land' and thus creates wealth. 

'Labour' is what we do when we, er, labour, work, toil or maybe invent and create. There are different forms of 'Labour' from slavery, through employment by others in exchange for wages, to self-employment and voluntary work.  Whatever, it all goes to add value to 'Land' rather like 'Capital' does.

Much of the day to day cut and thrust of political debate concerns the second two sources of wealth, Capital and Labour and the traditional left-right spectrum reflects the arguments about who the owners and beneficiaries of Capital should be and how Labour is regulated and how the wealth created is distributed. Libraries enough have been filled with writing on the subject so I will not add much more. I will concentrate on Land.

Once upon a very long time ago there were no people. In the case of Britain let's begin after the ice left, roughly 10,000 years ago. Nobody owned the land, folk walked north following the retreating ice and advancing animals and vegetation. The land provided food for all able to take it. The wealth created by the Land was a common good, distributed amongst all the people.

Somehow, sometime between then and the time when people started writing down their affairs, Land came to be possessed by individuals and laws were created to maintain possession. The powerful took unto themselves at least some of the Land and devised a system of governance that entrenched their ownership of this form of wealth creation. Some Land continued to be held communally for the common good, the wealth being distributed amongst all the citizens, but this fraction dwindled over the centuries, famously contracting with the Enclosure Acts but continuing to this day as public assets are privatised, the common ownership of Land being transferred to individuals and the arising wealth transferred with it.

Most of this transfer of ownership of Land to private individuals took place without the consent of the previous owners, most of the population.  It was theft, though the people doing the thieving were also the law-makers and they made the laws that called it not theft.

To right this wrong the transfer could be reversed, the ownership of the Land transferred back to the common ownership of all the citizens. The wealth arising from Land could be distributed to all the citizens as a Universal Basic Income (UBI). We could still have capitalists owning and benefiting from the mean of production and we could still have labourers being exploited to greater or lesser extents by employers. Enterprise and hard work could still be rewarded.The arguments between left and right could continue. But now all citizens would enjoy their fair share of the wealth of their own Land.

There has been much talk (and a few limited trials in other countries) of UBI recently. Critics have questioned where the money to fund it would come from. The discussion above provides the answer; UBI is funded from the birthright of the citizens, the Land component of the nations wealth. Such a basis for UBI would be the most significant change in the economic relations of the people since the Neolithic. We could do it now.
Bingham Canyon Mine, Utah
The world's largest mine; how is it that this mine and its products are in private ownership and the wealth created enjoyed by the few?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

What the Girl Said

Today, 21st January 2020, a seveteen year old girl spoke to the grown-ups at Davos. This is what she said:

I will speak later today so I just want to take this opportunity to once again remind everyone of our current situation.

In Chapter Two, on page 108 in the SR 1.5 IPCC report that came out in 2018, it says that if we are to have a 67 percent chance of limiting the global average temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we had on January 1st, 2018, about 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit in that budget.

And, of course, that number is much lower today, as we emit, about 42 gigatons of CO2 every year, including in land use. With today's emissions levels, that remaining budget is gone within less than eight years. These numbers aren't anyone's opinions or political views. This is the current best available science. Though many scientists suggest these figures are too moderate, these are the ones that have been accepted through the IPCC.

And please note that these figures are global and therefore do not say anything about the aspects of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris Agreement work on a global scale. And that means that richer countries need to get down to zero emissions much faster and then help poorer countries do the same so that people in less fortunate parts of the world can raise their living standards.

These numbers also don't include most feedback loops, non-linear tipping points nor additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution. Most models, however, assume that future generations will, however, somehow be able to suck hundreds of billions of tons of CO2 out of the air with technologies that do not exist today in the scale required - and perhaps never will.

The approximate 67 percent chance is the one with the highest odds given by the IPCC. And now we have less than 340 gigatons of CO2 left to emit in that budget to share fairly.

And why is it so important to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius? Because even at 1 degree people are dying from climate change because that is what the united science calls for, to avoid destabilising the climate so that we have the best possible chance to avoid setting off irreversible chain reactions.

Every fraction of a degree matters.

Since last summer, I've been repeating these numbers over and over again in almost every speech. But honestly, I don't think I have once seen any media outlets or person in power communicate this and what it means. I know you don't want to report about this. I know you don't want to talk about this, but I assure you I will continue to repeat these numbers until you do.

And later in the day, this:

One year ago I came to Davos and told you that our house is on fire. I said I wanted you to panic. I’ve been warned that telling people to panic about the climate crisis is a very dangerous thing to do. But don’t worry. It’s fine. Trust me, I’ve done this before and I can assure you it doesn’t lead to anything.

And, for the record, when we children tell you to panic we’re not telling you to go on like before. We’re not telling you to rely on technologies that don’t even exist today at scale and that science says perhaps never will.

We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching “net zero emissions” or “carbon neutrality” by cheating and fiddling around with numbers. We are not telling you to “offset your emissions” by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate.

Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough of what is needed and it cannot replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.

Let’s be clear. We don’t need a “low carbon economy.” We don’t need to “lower emissions.” Our emissions have to stop if we are to have a chance to stay below the 1.5-degree target. And, until we have the technologies that at scale can put our emissions to minus, then we must forget about net zero. We need real zero.

Because distant net zero emission targets will mean absolutely nothing if we just continue to ignore the carbon dioxide budget — that applies for today, not distant future dates. If high emissions continue like now even for a few years, that remaining budget will soon be completely used up.

The fact that the U.S.A. is leaving the Paris accord seems to outrage and worry everyone, and it should. But the fact that we’re all about to fail the commitments you signed up for in the Paris Agreement doesn’t seem to bother the people in power even the least.

Any plan or policy of yours that doesn’t include radical emission cuts at the source, starting today, is completely insufficient for meeting the 1.5-degree or well-below-2-degrees commitments of the Paris Agreement.

And again, this is not about right or left. We couldn’t care less about your party politics. From a sustainability perspective, the right, the left as well as the centre have all failed. No political ideology or economic structure has been able to tackle the climate and environmental emergency and create a cohesive and sustainable world. Because that world, in case you haven’t noticed, is currently on fire.

You say children shouldn’t worry. You say: “Just leave this to us. We will fix this, we promise we won’t let you down. Don’t be so pessimistic.”

And then, nothing. Silence. Or something worse than silence. Empty words and promises which give the impression that sufficient action is being taken.

All the solutions are obviously not available within today’s societies. Nor do we have the time to wait for new technological solutions to become available to start drastically reducing our emissions. So, of course the transition isn’t going to be easy. It will be hard. And unless we start facing this now together, with all cards on the table, we won’t be able to solve this in time.

In the days running up to the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum, I joined a group of climate activists demanding that you, the world’s most powerful and influential business and political leaders, begin to take the action needed.

We demand at this year’s World Economic Forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments:

Immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction.
Immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies.
And immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.
We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021. We want this done now.
It may seem like we’re asking for a lot. And you will of course say that we are naïve. But this is just the very minimum amount of effort that is needed to start the rapid sustainable transition.

So either you do this or you’re going to have to explain to your children why you are giving up on the 1.5-degree target. Giving up without even trying. Well I’m here to tell you that, unlike you, my generation will not give up without a fight.

The facts are clear, but they’re still too uncomfortable for you to address. You just leave it because you think it’s too depressing and people will give up. But people will not give up. You are the ones who are giving up.

Last week I met with Polish coal miners who lost their jobs because their mine was closed. And even they had not given up. On the contrary, they seem to understand the fact that we need to change more than you do.

I wonder, what will you tell your children was the reason to fail and leave them facing a climate chaos that you knowingly brought upon them? That it seemed so bad for the economy that we decided to resign the idea of securing future living conditions without even trying?

Our house is still on fire. Your inaction is fuelling the flames by the hour. And we are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else.

Thank you.

Greta Thunberg

Monday, January 20, 2020

Turned out NIce

In early 2014 I wrote a couple of blog-posts here and here about the extreme weather that caused flooding in much of southern England and famously in the Somerset Levels. I included this little diagram that reminds us that common events are, er, common and rare events less so.

Extreme weather events are not always as unpleasant as the floods of 2014. Today, January 20th 2020 we have another extreme weather event but it has been largely ignored as it has merely produced a nice day.  Here's today's isobaric chart from the Met Office:

There have only been two previous occasions when air pressure has topped 1050 mb in the English record: on the 28th of January 1905 at Falmouth, Cornwall, (1053.1 mb) and  on the 26th of January 1932 at Stonyhurst, Yorkshire (1051.0 mb). There have been another half dozen such events in Scotland.

Extreme weather events are, of course, more noticeable when they affect people adversely. Just at the western edge of the chart above one can see the depression that brought extreme snowfall to Newfoundland, described anecdotally by the good folk of St Johns as like nothing they can remember, as they dug their cars out of the drifts. The past three weeks have seen two cyclones cross Fiji. The bush fires of Australia have dominated the headlines, leaving little room for the floods in Indonesia. Southern Africa is dominated by drought and earlier flooding in South Sudan, which wiped out crops, threatens to conspire with poor governance to produce famine over the coming months. The climate change attribution to all these events becomes ever more clear. We have 'only' had a little over 1 degree of global heating so far. As average temperatures rise past 2 degrees towards 3 or four later this century we will need to do more than hold on to our hats.

Yet sometimes, an extreme weather event just produces a nice day.

Post-script Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Our extreme high pressure (1050.5 hPa in South Wales on Monday, a new record) is linked to the extreme rainfall on Spain's east coast, connected by an extreme jetstream going in an unusual direction.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Rainbow Diagram

Here is Julia Steinberger's Rainbow Diagram

Professor Julia Steinberger is a Swiss-American economist at Leeds University, who researches and teaches in the interdisciplinary areas of Ecological Economics and Industrial Ecology. Her research examines the connections between resource use (energy and materials, greenhouse gas emissions) and societal performance (economic activity and human wellbeing). She is interested in quantifying the linkages between resource use and socioeconomic parameters, and identifying alternative development pathways to guide the necessary transition to a low carbon society. Research focus on living well within planetary limits.

On the 4th of January 2020 she posted this diagram on Twitter,  listing 10 basic facts for human and planetary survival, and then footnoted it with multiple tweets to add a little help to interpretation and understanding. I've copied out her notes, with just a little editing to improve readability, below:

 The #RainbowDiagramToSaveEarth (that hashtag's definitely going to catch on.😆 No doubt.)
 (1) This is the domain of the IPCC and other large research assessment reports. So much evidence, just a few links.

(2) Future projections are given by the same reports as above. They are extremely, extremely worrying. Dire. Awful. Not. Good.
(3) is where things get interesting, because a lot hinges on what is considered "feasible" in polite scientific-policy circles. Some people consider radical change "unfeasible." I'm not one of them - I'd much prefer planetary destruction to be "unfeasible," but it's not. So…
So this is where subjectivity, rather than pure objective physical & natural science observations & modelling, enter the picture. I'll try to keep it simple and clean. If we stop emitting now, and I mean NOW, we stay below 1.5°C warming.
If we do this, and remember, all this requires is our *not* emitting, not the invention of new technologies or whatever, we can limit warming and hence limit the climate & ecological crises from engulfing much more than on our current growth trajectory.
(4) There is no doubt whatsoever that reducing emissions at the rate of at least 15% per year constitutes radical change. The IPCC reports agree on this point as well, speaking of "transformations" rather than "transitions" required to remain within 1.5°C.
Does radical change mean reducing consumption? Everyone agrees it means *changing* consumption, away from fossil energy and land-based resources, towards renewable energy, electricity-based technologies, plant-based diets. Will that be enough?
Long story short? No. Doing all we can to stop deadly planetary devastation will require both *changing* and *reducing* consumption. See UK CCC Net-Zero report: lots of supply-side change, but still some demand measures.
I decided to stop waffling and go straight to demand reductions because I think it's the crux of much hesitation and inaction, and I'd rather deal with it full frontally, and also because why the heck would we not do all we can to avoid planetary disaster? Come on.
I understand that some people might disagree with (4). My point is that reductions in consumption should be openly discussed, since they are (a) effective, (b) possible, and (c) necessary.
Not only change, we also have to reduce consumption. The "we" has to be defined: at least everybody in the middle & upper class in the industrialized countries!
So (4) is differentiated by income and need levels. Some groups need to consumer much more than they currently do, and many groups, especially the globally wealthy, need to reduce their consumption A LOT. Inequality is a core focus here.
I should mention that (4) is of course the core domain of degrowth economics, whose main theorist and proponent is the tremendous Giorgos Kallis, @g_kallis, and you should all follow him and read his books.
(5) is where things get interesting because this is my research area. Woohoo! But I'm not alone. Rao, Min & Mastrucci recently  published this great article on "Energy requirements for decent living in India, Brazil and South Africa" in Nature Energy.
Footnotes to (5). The main comments here were that people were not, as a mass, clamouring for lower consumption. But that's not what (5) says: (5) states universal well-being is *possible* at much lower consumption levels. So this is a scientific fact, not a majority political aspiration (yet). And this is where the 2nd socio-economic column is important: it explains my view of *why* we have to fight consumerism full-frontally: because it's the means fossil-fuelled industries use to accumulate wealth and power.
So that's a good jump-off point to talk about (6). I've been writing about (6) a lot, and so have other people. Some of the main references can be found in this google doc (page 3, under "climate & capitalism").  @NaomiAKlein is a core thinker here.
So are Andreas Malm, Ian Gough, Kate Raworth.
In terms of my own contributions to (6), they are mainly this article with @elkepirgmaier
and a nice short blog on climate breakdown, capitalism and democracy:
Moving on to (7), the core references are mainly the same as for (6): understanding how fossil capitalism emerges from the industrial revolution means that we need to see our societies as captive prey of the political economy they have created. I tried to express this here:
"The fossil giants and their adjacent industries, such as automotive & aviation, represent our current capitalist system. Our infrastructure and cities are built for them, our markets function for them, our governments are in thrall to them."
The question becomes: what can we do about this? And this is where understanding the origins of capitalism and wealth accumulation, including the origins of consumerism as a creation of corporate firms (see the excellent "Century of the Self") helps.
Because we have to unlearn (and fast) a vision of humanity as grasping, greedy, selfish, competing ever upwards: that vision itself turns us into a product, a tool of profit accumulation. It turns us into consumers. Moving away from this view of ourselves is essential for (8).
So on to (8) and popular power. If we need to unlearn seeing ourselves as consumers, we need to move towards seeing and understanding ourselves as forces of change in the world. Strangely, even in democracies, the power of social mobilization is not taught explicitly.
I have ideas why this is: probably because our democracies are the uneasy compromise between corporate wealth accumulation and preventing popular uprisings, or because teaching the power of organizing to teenagers is a downright scary proposition. Who knows.

Julia Steinberger
oil on canvas 23 x 23 cm
This portrait features in the Faces of Climate exhibition to be held at the North Sea Observatory, Chapel Point, Lincolnshire this Easter.

Wednesday the 8th to Sunday the 19th of April 2020.

Thursday, December 26, 2019


Today, Boxing Day 2019,  is 15 years since the Indonesian tsunami, the most destructive natural disaster in recent years.

Less well remembered is that its about 8000 years since the Storegga Slide, which caused a much bigger tsunami. It could happen again but we're not good at dealing with low probability high impact risks.

Should we have a tsunami warning system in the North Sea?

The idea will be dismissed.

1. It would cost money.
2. Politicians and other decision makers will be probably not be thanked for promoting the idea as they are likely to be retired, even dead, before anyone benefits.

However, as we learnt in Economics 101, there actually is a money tree. Money is created out of nothing more substantial than government policy and then circulates round and round the economy. The true cost is the amount of energy and physical resources used. And that would not be much.
Government takes seriously the defence of its citizens in the face of perceived threats from foreign powers and devotes substantial resources to the armed forces and even warning systems for low risk high consequence events such as nuclear missile strikes. Natural threats are given a lower priority.

The short term thinking of political decision making is a deep flaw in our system of governance. Decision makers get little benefit from taking decisions that benefit citizens beyond the time-frame of their period of office. 

The Storegga Slide and its consequent tsunami must have devastated the coastal communities of the already shrinking landmass of Doggerland. For those who are less familiar with the Early Holocene, start research on the Storegga Slide, as ever, at Wikipedia and take it from there.

The Lincolnshire Time and Tide Bell Community Interest Company is developing a project, called 'Doggerland' that takes the long view from 10,000 years ago to 10,000 years hence, combing the arts and sciences to learn from history, inform current policy-making and prepare a future fit for our descendants. Find out more, and perhaps get involved yourself, at the Doggerland webpage.

Should we have taken the action on global heating that the science demands?

The idea was be dismissed.

1. It would cost money.
2. Politicians and other decision makers will be probably not be thanked for promoting the idea as they are likely to be retired, even dead, before anyone benefits.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

The UK is not a Democracy

plutocracy noun
plu·​toc·​ra·​cy | \ plü-ˈtä-krə-sē \

1: government by the wealthy
2: a controlling class of the wealthy


Democracy is harder to define but here is a good description from the Council of Europe.
It certainly goes a lot further than getting people to vote one way rather than another.

An essential aspect of democracy is that the citizens are well informed and understand the truths of the matter and so will vote for some combination of their personal benefit or the common good, those two aspects usually coinciding.
In the UK, and in many other places, we now find many, even a majority, of the citizens are ill-informed. They have been continuously, consistently and deliberately misled and even lied to. The whole framework in which the news media work is owned by a wealthy few and it acts to drive people to vote not in their own interests or those of the common good but in the interests of the wealthy few.
Those who have been so duped will, of course, deny it. How could they not?
But the truth is that we do not have a democracy. Our society is a plutocracy. Government is by the wealthy for a controlling class of the wealthy.

The UK is not a democracy.
In the light of the 2019 General Election in the UK an understanding of the forces operating has become urgent and vital. Here's George Monbiot introducing some ideas.

Other words are available:


Look 'em up.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Neo-Climate-Denialism Part 3

Neo-climate-denialism is the acceptance that global heating is caused by human greenhouse gas emissions but not accepting we have to rush into doing sufficient about it. In summary: people who talk of net zero sometime in the future (probably when they are retired if not dead) are in denial. The truth is that we have to get the CO2 in the air down from the 415ppm we say this year back down to 350 and below. Pretty Damn Quick.

Some first thoughts following the end of COP25 in Madrid (and the outcome of the UK election)

Myself and everybody in my social bubble are pretty devastated by the election result.


We should focus now on the existential crisis facing all humanity. COP25 just ended (I watched the 4 and a half hours of the plenary this morning, finding the documents about as slowly as some of the delegates!) and the baton has been handed over to the UK.

The failure of agreements (particularly Article 6, see this for explanation) at COP25 puts an enormous responsibility on what passes for a government in the UK to get agreement on climate before the Glasgow COP26. It is quite hard to see how the UK has the international standing to succeed in this anymore but lets maintain hope

Over the coming months our attention needs to be directed towards every move our government makes on the climate crisis. Mr Johnson, like Mr Cameron before him, mentioned that phrase 'greenest government ever' If he fails he will be culpable of genocide and crimes against humanity. That last was a phrase uttered this morning by the delegate from Tuvalu and the sentiment was echoed by many other nations' delegates. If COP26 fails it will be game over for horrendous numbers of the human population. The UNFCCC process is deeply flawed but it is the only game in town and from today, for better or worse, it is in Mr Johnson's hands. It's up to us to see that he doesn't drop it.

On the 1st of December 2019, António Guterres @antonioguterres tweeted "I expect a clear demonstration of increased #ClimateAction ambition & commitment out of #COP25. Leaders of all countries need to show accountability & responsibility. Anything less wold be a betrayal of our entire human family and all generations to come".

As Michael Flammer @Jumpsteady pointed out, following the failure at COP25. "I guess it’s officially okay now to call #COP25 a “betrayal of our entire human family and all generations to come.”

Here's Part 1
and here's Part 2

The Keeling Curve - the most important graph in the world
Regard it as the chart at the end of the patient's bed.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Climate Genocide

This morning, 20th November, anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, documents asking the police to investigate Crimes under the International Criminal Court Act 2001 were lodged with the police at a number of police stations.

In Louth, Lincolnshire, two colleagues and I delivered a document, see below, asking that the police investigate a crime. The officer we spoke to said it was not a matter that he could deal with and suggested we send it to the Home Office. We begged to differ and he agreed to scan the document and provide us with an incident number but indicated that he intended to take the matter no further.

We understand the unprecedented nature of the case and that it was outwith the experience of the officer we spoke to but we do expect the case to be investigated and passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

I have written to the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police, Bill Skelly, asking him to take action.

The document we delivered follows:

Request to conduct a criminal investigation and charge three people for crimes committed under the International Criminal Court Act 2001

1. Crimes Against Humanity
2. Genocide

These offences were/are being perpetrated by: -

David William Donald Cameron                                            Former Prime Minister
Theresa Mary May                                                                 Former Prime Minister
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (Boris Johnson)            Serving Prime Minister

1. Prosecution sought under International Criminal Court Act 2001.

Request to the police to press charges for crimes against humanity and genocide against former prime ministers David William Donald Cameron, Theresa Mary May, and against serving prime minister Boris Johnson (Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson).

2. Crimes against humanity: definition
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population.

3. Genocide: definition
Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide says:
“In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
·        Killing members of the group;
·        Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
·        Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
·        Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
·        Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

4. UK legislation
These crimes were initially incorporated into UK legislation by the Genocide Act 1969, which was repealed and replaced by the International Criminal Court Act 2001.

5. Who is guilty?
The police are requested to mount an investigation into these allegations and to bring charges against the three figures who have greatest responsibility for the crimes committed (David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson). There is a case that former prime ministers, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and John Major should be prosecuted, but further work needs to be done to establish the extent of their crimes and the likelihood of securing a conviction.
There is also a strong case to prosecute other government ministers and key business figures who have sought to expand polluting industries, despite certain knowledge that their activities would contribute to appalling suffering and death. Further work is now being undertaken to establish whether prosecutions for these crimes should be pursued by the police.

6. Outline of the crime
6.1 Total number of people being killed
The World Health Organisation (1), Global Humanitarian Forum (2) and DARA International (3) have issued reports showing that large numbers of people are now being killed by climate change, with the most recent report indicating that 400,000 people are being killed per annum, with a large proportion being killed by the increased spread of disease in our 1°C warmer world. The DARA International report, for 20 developing countries, which was submitted to the United Nations, showed that the most vulnerable group were infants under the age of one year.
Killing children slowly over a few hours, days or weeks is a terrible way to kill another human being.

6.2 Sahel Region of North Africa
The World Economic Forum (Davos) attributes climate change as partly to blame for increasing violent conflict. It says that “the United Nations estimates that roughly 80% of the Sahel's farmland is degraded. Temperatures there are rising 1.5 times faster than the global average. As a result, droughts and floods are growing longer and more frequent, undermining food production. About 50 million people in the Sahel depend on livestock rearing for survival. But the land available to pastoralists is shrinking.” The report goes on: “This is particularly the case for Mali and Burkina Faso, both of which registered the highest conflict-related death tolls in years. Taking all the G5 Sahel group of countries together, they experienced over four times the number of fatalities in 2018 when compared to 2012, with 62% of all reported violent deaths concentrated in Mali.” (4)

6.3 European temperature records broken
Deaths from extreme heat are now better understood, with thousands of instances identified where people died during periods when temperature records were broken. The link of extreme heat to climate change was made clear following the 2003 heat wave in France when 35,000 people were believed to have died (5). In 2019 France set an all-time high-temperature of 46°C, while the UK, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands also reported new highs (6). These were again linked to an increase in deaths (7).
The impact of climate change upon drought is better understood with links identified to the crop failures in 2018 in Latvia and Lithuania (where a state of emergency was declared). The European Commission regularly produces reports on crop yields and evidence that links climate change driven extreme weather to impacts upon agricultural production (8). Here in the UK, the 2018 drought led to an average reduction of 20% in yields of onions, lettuces, carrots and potatoes (9).

6.4 Extreme weather events
For many years scientists struggled to provide a direct link between global heating and an individual extreme hurricane, cyclone, tornado or other weather event, but direct attribution is now possible in some cases.
The campaigning lawyers, Client Earth, have been building evidence to inform its litigation and should be approached to establish how many extreme storms have been worsened by climate breakdown (10).
Immediately after the worst of the 2017 hurricane season several speakers addressed the UN General Assembly making a direct link between the devastation and climate change. The Prime Minister of Dominica said his nation resembled a war zone and warned we have now permanently altered the climate between the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer (11).
The Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darren Henfield, then said ““For the first time in its history, the Bahamas evacuated whole communities to safe quadrants ahead of Hurricane Irma. What’s next: wholesale evacuation of the entire Caribbean?” (12) In 2019 the most powerful hurricane (Dorian) ever recorded in the Bahamas hit, destroying virtually every home on Abaco and causing extensive damage to Grand Bahama.
It should be noted that significant numbers of people left Dominica and Puerto Rico following the 2017 hurricanes and many will not return. In the case of Puerto Rico 8% of the population left. The initial death toll was put at 64, but this was later revised to 2,975 based on a study commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico (13). This is due to the fact that far more people die from other causes, over the following weeks, than die from initial physical injuries caused by high wind speeds and flood.
Turning to Mozambique; following the devastating impact of Cyclone Idai, the UN said that the storm was one of the worst disasters to ever hit the southern hemisphere. The cyclone and subsequent flooding killed more than 600 people, injured an estimated 1,600, affected more than 1.8 million and caused an estimated $773 million in damages to buildings, infrastructure and agriculture. The link between climate change and the havoc caused by cyclones Idai and Kenneth upon Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe was made by the UN (14).
The well respected science journal, ‘Carbon Brief’ has produced analysis showing that 68% of all extreme weather events studied to date were made more likely or more severe by human-caused climate change. Heatwaves account for 43% such events, droughts make up 17% and heavy rainfall or floods account for 16% (15).

6.5 Death and suffering in the future
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the body responsible for advising the governments of the world on the science relating to climate change. It has for many years published alarming warnings about the pace and impacts of climate change. Its most recent report, the ‘Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ (16) shows that sea level rise of up to 2 metres cannot be ruled out by 2100 and that a certain level of sea level rise is now locked in. The detailed report makes predictions, using the best available science, to warn how much the seas will rise under different scenarios, making it clear that current governmental policies will contribute to the complete destruction of several low lying island states.
In October 2019 a report: ‘New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding’, in the peer reviewed science journal ‘Nature Communications’ warned that the data used for the height/elevation of land was inaccurate. The report concluded that large areas of land in the UK and abroad were lower than previously estimated and were therefore more susceptible to sea level rise.  The report warned that climate change would put three times more people at risk of coastal flooding by 2050 than previously thought (17). 
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) has vigorously lobbied for dynamic action to be taken to stop the complete destruction of many of its member nations (18). If current policies are pursued we expect to lose Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands in the Pacific, the Maldives in the Indian Ocean, and many islands in the Caribbean.
The deliberate pursuit of policies that will lead to the destruction of these nations is an act of genocide. AOSIS should be approached for statements by members on the effect that the types of policies supported by the UK government will have upon their nations.
It must be noted that the UN Secretary General warned on 10 Sept 2018 that we now risk “runaway climate change” and that this is “a direct existential threat” (19). The UN has issued a number of warnings making it clear that even advanced European nations face devastation.  In July 2018 the UN Security Council considered the security implications of climate change, noting the very wide range of national security threats (20). The UK is one of only 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council.
In December 2018 Sir David Attenborough took up ‘The People’s Seat’ at the COP 24 conference in Poland and warned world leaders that we now risk “the collapse of civilisation” (21).
Turning to other risks; the World Water Forum predicted that by 2050 between 4.8 billion and 5.7 billion people will live in areas that are water-scarce for at least one month each year, up from 3.6 billion today, while the number of people at risk of floods will increase to 1.6 billion, from 1.2 billion (22).
Other peer reviewed research has warned of the increased spread of disease due to climate change, with 1 billion more people predicted to be infected by Zika Virus and Dengue fever by 2080 (23)
This range of increasing pressures are predicted to force ever more people to flee their homes. Research has warned that we face the prospects of 1.4 Billion climate refugees by 2060 and 2 billion by 2100 (24). 

6.6 Worst case scenarios
In August 2018 a peer reviewed report was published in the science journal PNAS which warned that various self-reinforcing feedbacks could push us to what was termed a “Hothouse Earth” state (Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene) (25). The report warned of the risk that these feedbacks could cause a runaway climate effect, even if greenhouse gas emissions were reduced. The various feedbacks could cause temperatures to increase by 5°C or 6°C, with appalling consequences for society and human life.
The UN Secretary General has warned that we face the very real danger of “runaway climate change” and that this is “a direct existential threat” (19). Many scientists warn that if a runaway effect were to begin, that would dramatically increase temperatures, and this would result in a collapse in the human population.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, has warned that the Earth’s population could “be devastated”. He warns that the carrying capacity of the planet could be below 1 billion people” (26).
Johan Rockström, also of the Potsdam Institute and former Director of the Stockholm Resilience centre, who has led research into planetary boundaries, has warned that climate breakdown could lead to a reduction in the human population to around 500 million people (27).
Prof James Lovelock has said he was more certain than ever that billions of people will die over the next century as a result of global warming. He warned that large parts of the world would be uninhabitable and the human population would crash (28).
A reduction in the human population to around 500 million, from around 9.7 billion by mid-century, implies the death of 9.2 billion people. But, if the collapse occurred around the year 2100, when the population might have reached 10.9 billion, this would imply the death of 10.4 billion people.
These worst case scenarios are profoundly shocking. Under no circumstances could a risk of this magnitude ever be justified.

7. The role of David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
David Cameron and Theresa May were both government ministers when the Paris COP21 agreement was negotiated. This agreement caused outrage in many quarters because it allowed the wealthiest nations to facilitate energy intensive lifestyles that would increase the number of people killed. The overwhelming majority of the deaths projected would be in the poorest nations of the world.
The COP21 agreement was in breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to life. Not only was the UK government going to maintain energy intensive lifestyles within the UK, it negotiated a clause that would allow it to increase emissions in some sectors.
COP 21 required that nations adopt policies to contribute to keeping global average temperatures “well below 2°C” and pursue negative emissions technologies after the year 2050, throughout the second half of the century, to reduce temperatures to the 1.5°C threshold by the year 2100. The quantity of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere would be unprecedented and faces extreme technological barriers. Peer reviewed research indicates that the trajectory we are on will leave the young with a bill of up to $535 trillion to pay to remove a staggering amount of CO2 and other gases from the atmosphere (29). Many scientists fear that the technologies proposed will never work at scale or will be too expensive for implementation, leaving the young to face complete climate breakdown and mass loss of life (30).
Boris Johnson was responsible for ratifying the COP21 agreement when he was Foreign Secretary and would have been aware that the UK had negotiated an agreement that would allow greenhouse gas emissions to increase in some areas and that this would contribute to mass loss of life.
In the light of the various intergovernmental conferences and UK conferences, the three prime ministers had attended, it is clear they were all aware that mass loss of life had begun due to climate breakdown and that this would become exponentially worse in the future. Despite that, they all supported governmental policies that would increase greenhouse gas emissions in some sectors and slow the pace of decarbonising the UK economy.
In the case of Theresa May, she was present at the One Planet conference organised by President Macron of France at which he warned there could be “billions of victims” (31).
When presented with overwhelming evidence that climate breakdown would destroy some nations and inflict appalling suffering upon the young, within the UK and elsewhere, the government failed to adopt policies that would lead to a rapid decarbonisation of the economy. Because the UK had industrialised around 200 years before China, and other developing nations, and had been polluting for far longer, it was clear that the UK had a greater responsibility to decarbonise more quickly than other nations. Instead of mandating a range of policies that would dramatically reduce emissions, the three accused were key figures in maintaining carbon intensive lifestyles.
The three accused could have implemented policies that would reduce car use, increase public transport, walking and cycling but they maintained policies that would facilitate high levels of petrol and diesel car use.
The three accused could have implemented policies that would have led to the construction of net-zero homes and policies that resulted in rapid renovation of the existing housing stock, but they undermined efforts that would have resulted in a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from homes and other property.
The three accused also vigorously supported the pursuit of Fracking technology, a new fossil fuel industry, to get more gas and, when the technology was shown not to be viable, government announced it would rather seek new supplies of gas from elsewhere than implement a radical energy efficiency programme to reduce energy use (32)  
The three accused could have ordered a rapid onshore and offshore wind farm construction programme but they vigorously opposed onshore wind power in England and refused to support rapid deployment of wind power elsewhere in the UK. When the evidence showed conclusively that mass loss of life would ensue, unless the UK made a dynamic shift to a range of renewable technologies, the government vigorously opposed that model.   
Astonishingly, the three accused vigorously supported the expansion of a number of non-essential luxury activities such as aviation and ocean cruises. Despite knowing that these would contribute to mass loss of life, the three accused supported a range of fiscal and planning policies that facilitated the growth in destructive activities.
On 1 May 2019 Parliament passed a motion of a declaration of an environmental and climate emergency. Despite a categorical warning that we face an unprecedented emergency Boris Johnson’s administration made policy commitments to growing emissions from the aviation sector and plan an increase of gas from abroad for UK consumption.

8 Examples of government’s genocidal policies
Here is a list of policies which the three named individuals have actively supported. It is not exhaustive, but proves that the three accused have sought policies that would increase the number of people being killed by climate breakdown: -  

•             In 2015 the government set up the UK Oil & Gas Authority with the statutory principal objective of maximising the economic extraction of the UK’s oil and gas resources. It describes its purpose as “Our purpose is to maximise the economic recovery of oil and gas.” (33). This was the same year as the UK government negotiated the Paris COP21 agreement.

•             Every year since 2010, the government had either cut or frozen fuel duties on fossil fuel diesel & petrol (34). The Chancellor Philip Hammond, stated that this will have benefitted the transport fossil fuel industry, by the end of the current budget forecast period, by a staggering £84 billion.

•             Since 1980, the government has overseen a reduction in the cost of motoring by 20% but it has facilitated an increase in the cost of public transport of 64% (35). This has the effect of increasing fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

•             The government increased Vehicle Excise Duty on more efficient vehicles and reduced them on less efficient vehicles (36).

•             The government perversely imposed a climate change tax on renewable electricity. It imposed rateable valuation tax on organisations having solar panels (37) and raised VAT on solar panels from 5% to 17.5% (38).

•             The government has banned English on-shore wind & solar from receiving any government subsidies or contracts for difference supply agreements with national grid (39).

•             The government plans to invest £25 billion in new roads (40) but a mere £120 million annually in new protected sections of a national cycleway network (41).

•             According to EU data the UK gives the highest government subsidies to fossil fuels of any country in the EU, at £10.5 billion annually (42).

•             The UK government is providing tax subsidies of £24 billion to the North Sea oil & gas industry. The UK government cut taxes on fracked gas from 62% to 30% making it, according to the government itself, the most generous scheme in the world for fracked gas (43) (32).

•             The government increased planning restrictions on onshore wind-turbines (44), whilst abolishing the requirement for planning permissions for fracking under land adjacent to fracking wells (45).

•             Between 2014 and 2017 the government poured £2.4 billion into fossil fuel industries in low and middle-income nations, locking them into decades of dependency on oil and gas (46).

•             The government cuts to home energy efficiency projects resulted in a 98% reduction in new installations between 2010 and 2018 (47).

•             In July 2015 the government scrapped the planned tighter energy efficiency standards that were due to come into force in 2016 (48). The new regulations would have required all new homes to carbon neutral, with better standards of insulation, more energy efficient lighting and other appliances. The new homes would provide with various renewable technologies for power and heat, with housebuilders being able to deliver equivalent carbon savings off site.

•             The government has given the go-ahead for a new runaway and massive expansion at Heathrow Airport and encouraged expansion of aviation at regional airports. It did this despite being warned by its own Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advisers that it would be incompatible with the government’s carbon reduction targets that are legally required by the Climate Change Act, at current passenger duty levels (49). In October the government rejected the advice of the CCC to include aviation and shipping in the UK’s 2050 Net-Zero target (50).

9. The crimes of are clear: Crimes against humanity and genocide
The crimes outlined are directed overwhelmingly at the young and also the most vulnerable nations in the world.  The offence of ‘crimes against humanity’ is directed at a specific group - the young. Indeed, the younger a person is, the more they will suffer.
The crime of ‘genocide’ is clear because several low-lying island states will be annihilated. There will be very many additional deaths elsewhere, mainly in the poorest, predominantly non-white nations of the world.  
The scale of death and suffering will almost certainly equal that inflicted by the great 20th Century tyrants, including Hitler and Stalin. But there is a very real risk that the suffering will be far worse, killing many billions of people.  Never before in history has a politician proposed a course of action that would lead to hundreds of millions of deaths, let alone many billions of deaths.
These crimes are clear and are unprecedented in scale. The victim nations can be identified, many individuals can be identified and the section within society most targeted has been identified – the young.  
Those with primary responsibility have been identified. This clearly falls within the legislation referred to on Page 1, so it is now for the police to mount a thorough investigation and charge these three people with the criminal offences.

10. Defence
It seems likely that those representing the three Prime Ministers will argue that government policy was formulated in the context of wider economic considerations and within an international framework agreed by the United Nations.
However, the science is clear that short term financial benefits would impose far greater costs in the future. The economist Nicholas Stern produced the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change in 2006 calling for 1% of GDP to be invested to stop climate breakdown and warned, without action, the overall costs of climate change would be equivalent to losing at least 5% of GDP each year, now and forever. The report warned that a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more, also indefinitely. Stern warned that 5–6°C of temperature increase is "a real possibility" (51).
It should be noted that in October 2019 the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, warned of a financial collapse if the climate emergency is not tackled. He said the longer action to reverse emissions was delayed, the more the risk of collapse would grow (52).
In addition, it must be noted that in October 2018 the landmark IPCC report called on governments to cut emissions by 45% by 2030 and achieve net-zero by 2050. The government’s policies do not align with the scientific advice and the UK is not willing to take a fair share of the remaining global carbon budget (53).
The Paris Agreement allows more latitude for developing countries, which means that developed countries, including Britain, need to cut more quickly. Part of the reason why global emissions are still continuing to rise is because developed nations, like the UK, are not willing to restrict their emissions to an equitable share of the IPCC’s remaining carbon budget.  As said above, the UK industrialised around 200 years before China and therefore has a greater responsibility to cut its emissions more quickly.  
It is also likely that a defence will be offered that the UK has cut its emissions by around 42% since 1990 but that is mainly because so much UK manufacturing has been moved to other nations, including China. In fact, the UK has made modest reductions in emissions by reducing the use of coal for generating electricity and by deploying more wind and other renewables sources of electricity generation. When looking at greenhouse gas emissions associated with UK consumption, our emissions have only dropped by around 11% (54).  

11. Conclusion
David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson have all supported a range of policies that increase greenhouse gas emissions from some sectors and slow the pace of decarbonising in other sectors. The three are aware of the implications of these policies upon the young and the most vulnerable nations.
All three are aware that climate change is causing mass loss of life today and could kill billions of people in the future.
All three are aware that their policies do not meet the requirements laid down by the international community (the IPCC recommendations and the UN COP process – Conference of the Parties).
All three are aware that their policies do not meet the advice of government’s own statutory advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change.
On 14 October 2019 an Environment Bill was announced in the Queen's Speech and introduced to Parliament (55). None of its provisions include policies that will enable the UK to reduce greenhouse at a dynamic and rapid pace. The Environment Bill provides a clear signal that the government and the current Prime minister, Boris Johnson, is not committed to taking the action needed to avoid further mass loss of life.

A criminal investigation must now be commenced.

Name                                                                               Date

Name                                                                               Date

Name                                                                               Date

Name                                                                               Date

1.  World Health Organisation 2004: 150,000 deaths p/a.  Malnutrition (77,000 deaths), diarrhoea (47,000 deaths), and malaria (27,000).
Pages 1606 and 1607: -

2. Global Humanitarian Forum: May 2009:  315,000 deaths p/a. Seriously affects 325 million p/a.,000-deaths-a-year-idUSTRE54S29P20090529
The Guardian reported 300,000 deaths p/a:

3. DARA International report for UN: September 2012
400,000 people killed p/a by climate change. See: -

4. World economic Forum: Collapse in the Sahel:

5. Deaths in France 2003:

6. Record breaking temperatures in 2019 linked to climate change:

7. Deaths in France due to 2019 heat wave:

8. European Commission. Crop monitoring in Europe 2018:
9. 2018 drought led to an average reduction in yields of 20% for onions, lettuces, carrots and potatoes
10. Client Earth and direct attribution:

11. Prime Minister of Dominica:

12. The Bahamas Minister of Foreign Affairs, Darren Henfield:


14. UN on Cyclone Idai.

15. Carbon Brief: The link to extreme weather events.

16. IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate:

17. New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding,

18. Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS):

19. UN Secretary General: 10 Sept 2018: we now risk “runaway climate change” and that this is “a direct existential threat”: -ónio-guterres-secretary-general-delivers-speech-on-climate-change-and-his-vision-for-the-2019-climate-change-summit/5833142929001/?term=guterres&lan=English&sort=date&page=3#t=3m54s

20. UN Security Council special conference on climate change:
21. Sir David Attenborough: ‘The People’s Seat’: COP 24 “the collapse of civilisation”.

22. World Water Forum:

23. 1 billion more people to be infected by Zika Virus and Dengue fever by 2080:

24. 1.4 Billion climate refugees by 2060 and 2 billion by 2100: -

25. Hothouse Earth: Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene

26. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber: Director Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Germany. Carrying capacity of Earth may be less than 1 billion:

27. Rockström: Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research

28. Prof James Lovelock: Billions will die.

29. Negative emissions technologies: $535 trillion.

30. Prof Kevin Anderson concerns about negative emissions technologies.

31. President Macron of France warns there could be “billions of victims”.

32. Government moratorium on support for Fracking

33. UK Oil & Gas Authority: Purpose

34. Vehicle fuel duties frozen

35. Increase in cost of public transport/reduction in cost of motoring

36. Vehicle Excise Duty changes

37. Imposition of rateable valuation tax on organisations having solar panels

38. VAT on solar panels
39. A near ban on new onshore wind power schemes in England

40. New road construction programme

41. Cycling investment

42. UK subsidies for fossil fuels (Page 11)

43. Tax regime for fracked gas

44. Restrictions on onshore wind-turbines

45. Fracking planning application process eased

46. UK subsidies for fossil fuel projects abroad

47. Reduction in home insulation programme

48. New home energy efficiency plans scrapped
49. Committee on Climate Change: Aviation and Heathrow

50. Government rejects advice of CCC

51. The Stern Review

52. Bank of England governor warns of a financial collapse.

53. Global Commons Institute: UK historical share of emissions

54. UK emissions drop 11%

55. Environment Bill 2019