UK declared a #ClimateEmergency — what needs to happen now
Following the 2 weeks of mass civil disobedience that largely shut down central London, Extinction Rebellion’s first demand was met: Parliament declared an Environment and Climate Emergency. But what happens next?
The scale of participation in the actions, growth of the movement and breadth of support from the public, press and business and political leaders was unprecedented for a direct action movement.
Over 1000 activists were willingly arrested for their act of nonviolent protest. The Mayor of London and the Met Police were tolerant, almost supportive, of this beautiful expression of peaceful protest.
People have woken up to the fact that this is an emergency, now feel safe to declare that they too care deeply about their planet, that they are concerned about their children’s futures, that they believe that we must do more.
We have rightly celebrated the declaration as a victory.
But what happens next?
A declaration of the emergency is only the first step. It must be followed up with a step change in the level of ambition in action being taken in all levels of government, our economy and your community.
During my involvement in the 2 weeks of mass civil disobedience (including a chilly night sharing food and enjoying Spanish guitar music around the pink boat in Oxford Circus), one of the most common reactions I heard was:
“We’re already doing enough and the UK is already leading the world”
This often appears to be the attitude of the Government as well. It is an attitude of complacency that holds us back from being more ambitious and doing what is actually necessary.
Claire Perry, the Energy Minister, said in the Parliamentary debate on Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion on 23 April:
“Watching the protests over the past few days, both here and globally, has raised slightly mixed emotions in me. First, there is excitement that the conversations that many of us were having about climate change 30 years ago are finally moving from niche to mainstream. The question is not ‘Why act?’ but ‘How fast can we act?’
Secondly, we completely understand the brilliant scientific evidence base, the motivation and the commitment that are driving people across the world to make their views known, but I worry that many of the messages we are hearing ignore the progress that is being made and, as such, make people fearful for the future, rather than hopeful.”
It is important to recognise and celebrate the astounding progress we’ve made in the UK.
While commending that progress, we must also confront two realities:
- We are NOT doing enough to maintain this progress; and
- Our existing targets are not enough
That we have achieved so much should give us the confidence to do not just what is “politically feasible”; but what is scientifically necessary; to do what we must: increase our ambition and accelerate our action.
That means setting a net-zero target for much earlier than 2050, then as soon as we can in 2019, putting in place firm and fully-funded policy to surpass our fourth and fifth carbon budgets (which we’re currently not on track to meet) and instigating a rapid transition to zero carbon across all sectors of our economy.
The scale of the transformation needed is replacing all petrol/diesel vehicles on the road with electric cars and upgrading the heating system in every one of 25 million homes in the UK, and really we have only about 10 years to do it.
This will take bold commitment, leadership, and action from all levels of government and business as well as households and individuals across all nations of the UK.
Welcome to one of the most exciting and rapid transitions the world has ever seen…
Yes, the UK has led the world in reducing emissions…
The UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 sets a legally-binding goal for an 80% emissions cut in 2050, against a 1990 baseline. Five-yearly carbon budgets provide stepping stones towards that long-term goal.
The Committee on Climate Change’s 2018 Progress Report to Parliament  confirmed that in the decade since the world-leading 2008 Climate Act was introduced, we have reduced emissions to 43% below 1990 levels.
The overwhelming majority of our emissions reductions have come from changes in Electricity generation, mainly thanks to a transition away from coal, largely replaced with CCGT (combined cycle gas turbines) and, to a lesser extent, an increase from 6% to 20% renewable generation.
We have also made good progress on emissions from Waste, avoiding the extremely harmful methane emissions thanks to splitting food, garden and paper waste into separate streams and better management of methane emissions at landfill sites.
On everything else, emissions have been pretty much flat.
Transport, Industry and Buildings are now larger contributors to our emissions than Power.
…but our progress is about to grind to a halt…
UK Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in 2017 were 456 MtCO₂e (Megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).
Our upcoming carbon budgets  are set at:
In January 2018, following the publication of the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy, CCC warned the government  that we are NOT on track to hit 4th (2023–2027) or 5th (2028–2032) carbon budgets. In fact, the shortfall to hitting these budgets has risen from 133 Mt in 2014 to 250 Mt in 2018 [4, 1, figure 1.8]
Our climate policy is becoming less firm, further from what’s needed, and more at risk of not delivering.
In October 2017, the Government published the Clean Growth Strategy , which set out mostly vague intentions, and set out some firmer policy in subsequent publications, such as the Department for Transport’s July 2018 Road to Zero Strategy . CCC says there are significant risks of underdelivery of these intentions and policies.
Let’s break down what’s happening (and not happening), sector-by-sector, from most emissions to least:
Transport (126 Mt / 28% of UK GHG emissions)
Surface Transport emissions are flat.
“As emissions in other sectors have reduced, transport has grown as a share of overall emissions. Transport is now the largest-emitting sector of the UK economy at 126 MtCO₂e, accounting for 28% of UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017.” 
- Fuel duty freeze since 2011 has led to a 4% increase in traffic growth and additional 4.5 million tonnes of CO2 on UK roads, plus an increase in Nix and particulate matter. Emissions per new car per mile increased by 0.8% in 2017, mainly due to people buying larger cars. 
- Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) increased in 2017 to 1.9% of new cars. This is very slow progress. There’s a general agreement that we need to get to 100% by 2030–2040. The 2017 Road to Zero strategy set a target of 2040 for a ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans. Norway is targeting 2025 and is already at 60%.
- Sales are being held back by range anxiety (only 5 battery EVs have a range over 200 miles), manufacturing bottlenecks and weak tax policy (tax is only differentiated in terms of gCO2/km in the first year)
Industry (105 Mt / 23% of UK GHG emissions)
Emissions from industrial and manufacturing processes — more than 60% of which are from 5 sectors: Iron/steel, Refineries, Construction, Chemicals and Cement/lime — have recently flattened.
“Based on provisional data, industry emissions rose by 1% in 2017 to 105 MtCO2e while industrial output grew by around 3%. This follows average annual emissions reductions of 3% over the period 2009–2016 and a halving of emissions since 1990. Two-thirds of the increase in emissions covered by the industry sector in 2017 was due to an increase in emissions from oil and gas production.” 
- Carbon pricing, based on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), has been the main mechanism to attempt to control emissions.
- The scheme has been so poorly calibrated, with caps set far too high, that energy intensive companies made over €24 billion from the EU ETS during 2008–2014. The price crashed to just €5 per tonne and has now recovered to about €20 per tonne (The social cost of carbon is estimated at around €40 per tonne, rising to €1,000s per tonne by 2050).
- Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is vital to decarbonise heavy industry. In 2015, George Osborne axed a planned £1bn competition to commercialise carbon capture and storage (CCS).
Buildings and heat (85 Mt / 19% of UK GHG emissions)
Since 2013, progress on emissions from buildings (mostly for heating) has stalled.
77% of these emissions are from the 25 million homes in the UK, the majority of which would benefit from upgrading to improve heating efficiency.
“Over ten years after the Climate Change Act was passed, there is still no serious plan for decarbonising UK heating systems and no large-scale trials have begun for either heat pumps or hydrogen.” 
Cuts to policies and programmes since 2015
- Ahead of the Paris agreement (oh, the hypocrisy), the then-chancellor George Osborne and climate secretary Amber Rudd announced large reductions in planned funding for energy efficiency, renewable heat and DECC itself.
- The government had already moved to limit support for renewable energy and slashed its projections for new renewables capacity.
- The zero-carbon standard for new homes was scrapped.
Ineffective policies and programmes to insulate homes
- “Home insulation rates fell further in 2017, with only 123,000 lofts or walls being insulated. Home insulation rates are at just 5% of peak market delivery in 2012. Opportunities for cost-effective carbon and bill savings are therefore being missed. For a typical home, the absence of loft insulation adds in the region of £105 a year to bills. The absence of cavity wall insulation adds around £115 a year to bills.”
Extension of these ineffective measures
- October 2017 Clean Growth Strategy promised “around £3.6bn to upgrade the energy efficiency of a million homes, with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) extended to 2028 at its current level.”. The programme was retargeted to exlude households which are “able to pay”.
- ECO2 (2015–2018) shows that 27 Mt of lifetime savings were delivered i.e. maybe about 1 Mt per year — less than 2% of direct GHG emissions from homes.
- ECO3 commenced in December 2018 and, to end of March 2019, delivered only 11,714 home heating upgrade measures since then. That doesn’t seem to be on track to upgrading a million homes.
We could be so much further ahead if it wasn’t for the repeated scrapping of policy in this area.
Power (72 Mt / 16% of UK GHG emissions)
Progress continued in reducing power sector emissions in 2017: emissions are down 12% on 2016 levels, 59% on 2008 levels and 65% on 1990 levels.
However, CCC identifies that we are heading off-track and opportunities are being missed:
“Low-cost mature renewable technologies (i.e. onshore wind and solar) are the cheapest generation options and their deployment would help to cut energy bills. However, the Government currently has no plans to run further auctions for Contracts for Difference for mature technologies, which are essential to secure the high volumes of necessary low-carbon generation at the lowest cost.” 
- We’ve already shut down most of the coal power plants, and with solar and wind subsidies ended and on-shore wind called off, we’re not likely to deliver the amount of low-carbon power we need by 2030 to support the electrification of transport, heating and industry.
- The government has essentially banned on-shore wind, the cheapest form of electricity generation (low-carbon or otherwise).
- In 2018, the Carbon Price Floor (CPF) freeze (at £18 per tonne) was extended until April 2021, and the government is even considering reducing it. Companies with vested interests are lobbying hard for this. (source).
Agriculture (46 Mt / 10% of UK GHG emissions)
“Emissions were unchanged in 2016 and agriculture now accounts for a larger share of UK economy wide emissions (10%) than at any time since 1990 (7%). This reflects no change in agricultural emissions since 2008 and the faster pace of decarbonisation in other sectors.” 
Emissions reductions in agriculture are relying on an industry-led voluntary approach, which is clearly not working, with fewer than half of farmers considering that it’s important to consider emissions when deciding how to manage their land.
Aviation (35 Mt / 8%) and Shipping (14 Mt / 3%)
Total domestic and international aviation emissions increased by 1.2% in 2016, to 35.5 MtCO2e.
“Aviation emissions in the UK have more than doubled since 1990, while emissions for the economy as a whole have fallen by around 40%. Achieving aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels in 2050 will require contributions from all parts of the aviation sector, including from new technologies and aircraft designs, improved airspace management, airlines’ operations, and use of sustainable fuels. It will also require steps to limit growth in demand. In the absence of a true zero-carbon plane, demand cannot continue to grow unfettered over the long-term.” (source)
- Demand for flights continues to rise. In 2016 the number of passengers flying rose by 7%, the number of kilometres flown by 6%, and the number of flights increased by 4%.
- Shipping Emissions had been falling, but in 2016, grew by 2.5%. Shipping emissions can be driven by imports of cargo, ship speeds, fuel efficiency of ships and bunkering pattern (where and how often ships take on fuel).
- Building a third runway at Heathrow and — if the Brexiteers get what they want — aiming to do more trade deals with far-away countries, are not going to help us achieve the emissions reductions we need from aviation and shipping.
Forestry and Land Use Changes (-14 Mt / abating 3% of UK GHG emissions)
“A lack of action on forestry has led to a flat-lining of net carbon sequestration from forests over the recent past. The ageing profile of trees has reduced the ability of forests to absorb carbon.” 
…and anyway, our targets are not enough
Our current target is an 80% reduction from 1990 levels of GHG emissions by 2050. We need to show leadership and set a much bolder target.
Here’s what the CCC says in their May 2019 report to Government, Net Zero — The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming:
We’re still on the path to even more severe impacts
- We’re already 1°C hotter than pre-industrial levels and climate risks are increasingly apparent in every country of the world (though unevenly and unfairly distributed).
- Global emissions are still rising.
- Current pledges of effort from countries across the world would lead to warming of around 3°C by the end of the century. This is an improvement on the warming of over 4°C expected when the UK Climate Change Act was passed, but it is well short of the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal to limit the rise to well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to 1.5°C.
The IPCC SR15 report highlights the necessity to constrain temp anomaly to 1.5°C not 2°C. The CCC summarises the main differences in their May 2019 “Net Zero” report:
“Significant changes in ecosystems would occur at 2°C warming, but there would be clear benefits compared to higher levels of warming, with global species extinction risk reducing to a ‘moderate’ level compared to ‘high’ levels under 4°C warming. However, the rate of climate change would still likely be too fast for many species to be able migrate to regions with acceptable climates.”
- Climate extremes. Temperature extremes are expected to increase by 2–3 times the increase in global average temperature between 1.5°C and 2°C. Around 420 million fewer people would be exposed to extreme heatwaves if warming was kept to 1.5°C than 2°C.
- Ecosystems. Risks of species extinction on the land and in the ocean are lower at 1.5°C than 2°C. For example, the fraction of global land area that would change ecosystem type due to climate change factors at 2°C (13%) would be roughly halved if warming was kept below 1.5°C (7%).
- Distribution of risks. The additional increase in climate risk between 1.5°C and 2°C warming would affect poor and vulnerable people most of all. Poverty and disadvantage have increased with recent warming and are expected to increase for many populations as average global temperatures increase from 1°C to 1.5°C and higher.
- Irreversible changes. Marine ice sheet instability in Antarctica and/or irreversible loss of the Greenland ice sheet could possibly be triggered by warming between 1.5°C and 2°C. Keeping warming as low as possible reduces the risk of triggering these large-scale irreversible shifts in the climate.”
However, the CCC’s recommended net-zero target of 2050 equates to a contribution that — if matched around the world — would give us a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C (with little or no overshoot). Those odds aren’t great given the far more extreme impact of 2°C on many species and people. I think we should aim for a higher chance than 50/50!
To continue playing a world-leading role in this transition, we need to set a target for way earlier than 2050.
It’s our responsibility to lead a just and fair transition
- With a strong economy, established governance process via the Climate Change Act and high level of scientific, technical and financial competency, the UK can and should go further than the world’s average
- Despite only making up 1% of global population, 2–3% of human-induced global warming to date has resulted from GHG emissions in the UK
- As the country responsible for the 4th most cumulative emissions, we absolutely must lead by example on the world stage
There is a strong economic argument to be made for action sooner rather than later
“With appropriate policy and support there could be an industrial boost to the UK from being one of the early movers in some key sectors (e.g. specialised supporting services like finance and engineering for low-carbon technologies, carbon capture and storage), with potential benefits for exports, productivity and employment.” — CCC Net Zero
- The earlier we make deep cuts, the less it will cost us, and the more we will be in a position to transfer technology globally as a leader in low-carbon.
- The UK’s GDP is about £2,000 billion, and CCC’s recommendations are based on the 1–2% of that Parliament committed to in 2008.
- As Energy Minister Claire Perry said, “The question is not ‘Why act?’ but ‘How fast can we act?’”. How fast could we achieve net zero emissions if we committed not 1–2% of GDP it, but 2–6%? Could we get there by 2030?
- Public Sector expenditure in 2017/18 was about £733 billion, so it doesn’t seem insurmountable to spend £40–120 billion a year (across both the Public and Private sector) on addressing the biggest crisis facing our planet
- Many investments we might make now could reduce overall costs and will provide many co-benefits (e.g. to Health, on which we spend £145 billion every year) and make positive contributions to our GDP.
Here’s what we must do now:
We must tackle all of the following, with urgency:
1. Set a net-zero target for much earlier than 2050 (say, 2030)
- Other climate leaders (e.g. the European Union, Denmark, France, Portugal, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Bhutan, California, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Fiji, Iceland, the Marshall Islands and New Zealand) have set or are considering net-zero GHG targets by 2050 or before.
- To really show leadership and raise the bar of ambition globally, the UK should set a net-zero target for greenhouse gases for a date significantly before 2050. If we can hit 2050 spending 1–2% of GDP, what will it take to get there by 2030 (matching Norway)? Maybe 4%? OK, let’s invest what it takes and actually lead the world in this transition!
- This is an emergency. Doing what is “politically feasible” is not enough. We must push ourselves to do what is necessary with urgency. When Kennedy said we’ll put a man on the moon within a decade, that was “impossible” at the time. Committing to the goal, investing in it and galvanizing a nation made the impossible, possible.
2. Make electric cars work
(short-term investment, long-term should save about £5bn/year)
- We need concrete policies and funding to actually make transition to electric vehicles happen 10–15 years faster than our current target of 2040. Other countries have set more ambitious targets (Scotland 2032, Ireland + 6 other EU countries 2030, Norway 2025). Why can’t we again match Norway?
- We need a significant ramp-up of the electric vehicle market, currently 1.9% up to 100% of new cars and vans by 2025 (with HGVs to follow, possibly hydrogen-powered). It’s not that complicated. The cars are available. Make EVs and PHEVs cost no more than petrol cars, then people can switch to buying them!
- Plug-in hybrids sold in the UK should be capable of driving a high proportion of their journeys in zero emissions mode. We should set long-term tax incentives to encourage purchases of cars with ranges > 200 miles.
- A national charging network is essential to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicles. This should be delivered in the early 2020s by the Government as a critical piece of National Infrastructure.
3. Reduce demand for travel
- Demand reduction is generally highly cost-effective and has many co-benefits. Cities and towns can take the lead in encouraging sustainable travel choices, including walking, cycling and public transport, which can improve congestion, air quality and public health.
- Improvements in freight logistics efficiency such as driver training to drive more fuel efficiently can help raise productivity, but there remains a need for the regulation of the fuel efficiency of new HGVs.
4. Decarbonise Industry
(£15–30bn/year for 2030 net-zero, paid for by increasing carbon price)
- A robust and rising carbon price would drive energy efficiency improvement, bioenergy or hydrogen for space and process heat, low-carbon electrification of space and process heat and investment in industrial carbon capture and storage (CCS).
- R&D. In a similar way to the Faraday Challenge which pledged £246 million for R&D in battery technologies, the government should invest in R&D and technology development for industrial CCS and the hydrogen economy for certain industrial processes and potentially long-distance HGV and ship transport.
- The level of ambition necessary? According to the CCC:
“Government must implement an approach to incentivise industries to reduce their emissions through energy and resource efficiency, electrification, hydrogen and CCS in ways that do not adversely affect their competitiveness.
In the short-term, this is likely to imply a role for Exchequer funding. Longer term, it could involve international sectoral agreements (e.g. for industries like steel where there are relatively few global companies), procurement and product standards that drive change by requiring consumers to buy or use low-carbon products (e.g. where UK consumption is a large part of an industry’s market) or through border-tariff adjustments that reflect the carbon content of imports.
Wider infrastructure developments to support CCS and hydrogen roll-out will support industry to make the required changes. By 2050, a new low-carbon industry is needed with UK hydrogen production capacity of comparable size to the UK’s current fleet of gas-fired power stations.”
Again, we must invest in building this infrastructure not by 2050, but in the next decade. The sooner we build it, the sooner we benefit.
5. Improve the energy efficiency of all our buildings
- We must raise our ambitions. 25 million homes need to be upgraded, and many offices too. We must get back to the level of action we had in 2012 (or double that), when more than a million homes a year were being upgraded.
- Insulation is a highly cost-effective measure, with a short payback period, but home-owners are still reluctant to invest in it, even if in theory they have the financial resources to do so. The government can help provide short-term financing for this, potentially recouping the investment by taking a share of the cost-savings in our energy bills.
- Bring back the “zero carbon homes” standard, to ensure the estimated 150,000–200,000 new homes we build each year have features required for net-zero emissions.
6. Shift to low-carbon heat
(~£30bn/year for 2030 net-zero)
- Cost-effective opportunities are being missed to improve household heating efficiency (and lower bills)
- Switching homes to low-carbon heating remains a major challenge. It is currently funded by Exchequer spending, but the roll-out is limited and less than £100 million was spent in 2018.
- We need a more radical shift to decarbonise heat using options such as electric heat pumps, combined heat and power, community heat networks and/or hydrogen or biogas in the gas grid.
“Our estimates imply an annual cost, reflecting higher upfront costs, for switching to low-carbon heating of the order of £15 billion. Large-scale deployment must begin before 2030. It would be regressive, and probably restrict progress, to pass the cost on fully to households. This should be a key focus for the HMT funding review. We note that in the long run this cost is similar to the combined saving from falling power costs and electric vehicles.
An overhaul of the approach to low-carbon heating and energy efficiency is needed. The Government’s planned 2020 Heat Roadmap must establish a new approach that will lead to full decarbonisation of buildings by 2050. This must be fully funded, following the Spending Review, and it is essential that the Treasury commits now to working with BEIS on this. Recent announcements on new build must be delivered.” — CCC Net Zero
5. Reinvigorate progress on electricity generation
(~£36bn/year for 2030 net-zero, paid for by increasing carbon price)
- By 2025, National Grid will have the grid flexibility measures and technology in place to support a 100% renewable grid.
- We must increase, not reduce, the carbon price applied to power stations (currently £18/tonne). To be effective, a carbon price must increase over time to increase pressure to decarbonise. Government estimates suggest a high and rising carbon price is needed to limit warming to 2C, reaching close to £80/tCO₂ by 2030.
- Stop tax breaks for North Sea oil and gas and redirect that money to transport and heat infrastructure
- Ban fracking. We don’t need more gas.
- Bring back on-shore wind — the cheapest form of power generation
- Commit to Contracts for Difference (CFDs) this year to pay for off-shore AND on-shore wind
6. Stop the growth in aviation emissions
- Cancel Heathrow expansion. Expansion of Heathrow is incompatible with our stated and legally-binding carbon emission goals, and unnecessary for our economy to continue to grow.
- Reduce demand via taxation. Demand is forecast to grow by 2050. We must put in place policies to reduce demand, such as a graduated tax for frequent flyers and business travel. Could we also incentivise provision of better alternatives such as state-of-the-art video conferencing facilities for all businesses?
- The aviation industry should pay the costs of removing emissions, an annual cost of £10–20bn/year, which would increase the price of flights to reflect the social cost of carbon emissions.
(~£2bn/year for 2030 net-zero)
- “The UK Agriculture Bill intends to redirect subsidies towards public goods and could support the major transition in land use and farming practices required by a net-zero GHG target. Our cost estimates for land and agriculture in our scenarios (under £2 billion annually) are lower than UK payments under CAP (over £3 billion).”
- “Future success will require diversification of incomes and taking the opportunities that come with transformational land use change. Policy to encourage farming practices that reduce emissions must move beyond the existing voluntary approach. Financial payments in the UK Agriculture Bill should be linked to actions to reduce and sequester emissions, to take effect from 2022.”
- “The £90m Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund aimed at transforming food production should be allocated to projects that deliver GHG emissions reduction, in addition to government’s other stated objectives. This presents an important opportunity to deliver innovation and productivity in the agriculture sector as well as emissions reduction.”
8. Land use
- “Enabled by healthier diets and reductions in food waste, a fifth of our agricultural land must shift to alternative uses that support emissions reduction: afforestation, biomass production and peatland restoration” — CCC Net Zero
- “Consumer-facing policies should be used to support shifts to healthier diets with lower beef, lamb and dairy consumption. These would allow changes in UK land use without increasing reliance on imports.
- “Forest cover should increase from 13% of UK land to 17% by 2050. Policy must support land managers with skills, training and information.”
- We should exploit Natural Climate Solutions, such as the techniques of Silvopasture (combining forestry with grazing to sequester carbon in the soil, while improving its fertility) and Peatland restoration, which can hold a LOT of carbon.
The CCC concludes in their Net Zero report:
“We now have an understanding of how UK emissions can be reduced by 100% to net-zero and expect it to be delivered within the costs previously agreed by Parliament, provided all parts of government act quickly, effectively and in a coordinated fashion. Many businesses in the UK are ready to implement it; some have already set net-zero targets of their own.”
They are saying that we can feasibly get net-zero by 2050 by investing £20–40bn/year, over 30 years.
Let’s treat this as the emergency it is and choose to invest double or triple that, i.e. £40–120bn/year over a decade, to get there by 2030.
Let’s lead the world in the most exciting transition any of us have ever seen and start reaping all the benefits (including financial benefits) sooner.
What you can do
Talk about it!
- With your family, friends, co-workers — it is no longer a taboo subject!
- Help others wake up to the reality that we both must and can address this, if we put our minds to it.
- 3.5% is the critical mass for a movement i.e. if 2–3 million people in the UK take action in support of the necessary transition, we make it happen.
- Petition your local council to declare a climate emergency, if they haven’t already.
- Write to your MP urging them to join climate and energy debates and set a net-zero target for the UK to maintain its leadership. You could highlight that there are co-benefits to health, our economy and our position in the world to achieving deep reductions earlier than 2050.
- Join Extinction Rebellion
- Consider how the work that you do might contribute to rapid decarbonisation of our economy — what leverage does your company have?
- Reduce your own emissions — travel by foot, bicycle or public transport, minimise flying, improve the efficiency of your home, eat a healthy diet, reduce, reuse and recycle, buy based on quality and longevity not just price, investigate how your pension is invested
Against a backdrop of global ecosystem collapse, we must all do what is necessary. drawing on all the resources that we can to direct human energy, ingenuity, creativity and passion to accelerate the transition to a society that thrives in harmony with our planetary home.
“I’m not optimistic of pessimistic. These are different faces — different sides — of the same simplistic surrender to fatalism where we treat the future as fate not choice and don’t take responsibility for creating the future we want. I live in a spirit of applied hope.” — Amory Lovins, Rocky Mountain Institute
In the biggest transition the world has seen, how might you apply your hope?