Saturday, December 14, 2013

Lord Deben, Championing Climate Change

On his twitter page Lord Debon, John Gummer as he used to be, calls himself John Deben @lorddeben Climate Change champion.
Now, by the by, Lord Deben just happens to be the brother of Lord Chadlingtone, formally known as Peter Gummer, the CEO and chairman of the Huntsworth Group, David Cameron’s next door neighbour and Chairman of his constituency party. The Huntsworth Group is a major lobbyist for the gas and oil industry with clients such as British Gas.  Lord Deben is also founder and chairman of Sancroft International who are, in their own words, “…an international sustainability consultancy. We provide valued and trusted advice to multinational companies across the full spectrum of ethical, environmental and social issues.”
For a consultancy relied upon by so many global corporations, it is worrying that their boss has such fundamental misconceptions as to how the world works, as revealed in this twitter conversation I have just had:

Biff Vernon ‏@transitionlouth
@lorddeben BBC News says you support fracking. Increased CO2 emissions inevitable result http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25327695
John Deben ‏@lorddeben
@transitionlouth  If environmentally regulated UK fracked gas is used to replace imported gas it makes sense 
Biff Vernon ‏@transitionlouth
@lorddeben No sense in searching for more fossil carbon when 80% of what's already found must not be burnt.
John Deben@lorddeben
@transitionlouth If we find fuel to substitute for imports avoiding dependence on unpleasant regimes that makes sense
Biff Vernon ‏@transitionlouth
@lorddeben You think the climate cares whether a regime is unpleasant? No more carbon fuels is existential priority
John Deben ‏@lorddeben
@transitionlouth Not talking additional gas but substituting our own for Mr Putin's. Climate effect probably less. 
Biff Vernon @transitionlouth
@lorddeben It is additional. Russian gas will still be produced. Fundamental error. Supply must be cut not increased.

The point is, if I might explain in more than 140 characters, is that to keep global warming to within 2 degrees of pre-industrial level (and yes I know that is a politically not scientifically devised goalpost; one degree is quite enough, thank-you) we need to keep some 80% of the already discovered fossil carbon fuels underground and unburnt. To search for more fossil fuel, which the drive for gas fracking is a part of, is a clear denial of the global warming threat. For Lord Deben to suggest that any gas we may find in the UK will not be an addition is clearly nonsense and the raising of Putin’s name and the ‘unpleasant regimes’ is disingenuous obfuscation. If the UK does not buy Russian gas there is no doubt that the Russians will find other markets.
Perhaps when Lord Deben describes himself as ‘Climate Change Champion’ he means he is championing climate change. Anyway, if the world’s corporates are relying on this man for their advice on sustainability, then I suggest they might do better to check with me instead.

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