Over the next year, I will be part of a concerted push by like-minded EU countries to raise the target for carbon emission cuts to 30% in 2020 and higher targets for 2030.
That’s what Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change in the UK said at a recent AVOID symposium, a group that’s working to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C.
We usually hear that climate deniers are mostly in the US, but these excerpts from his speech are eerily similar to what we hear here.
But at least the UK has come together as a nation, with national climate legislation.
Here are some excerpts:
About Listening to Experts
It is fair to say that trust in politicians is not something the public has in abundance.
That is why, when it comes to climate change, it is so important that all the rigours of the scientific method are applied.
That it is the science that drives policy. And that we hear loud and clear from the experts.
When the scientists tell us that the evidence proves that smoking is addictive and can cause a whole host of deadly medical conditions from emphysema to heart disease, we believe them.
When scientists tell us to that prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays can lead to cancer, we believe them, because their views are based on strong evidence.
We take precautions, we avoid sun burn, we cover up, use sun cream.
So if we have this trust in scientific evidence, why would we make an exception when it comes to the science of climate change?
When it comes to assessing the health of our planet’s eco-system – we should listen to the scientists – and we should believe them.
On addressing climate change and its affect on the economy:
Over the last decade in the United Kingdom, there has grown and solidified, a political consensus for domestic action to curb our emissions, and for seeking a legally binding international treaty to provide for the same at a global level.
We can all be proud of the Climate Change Act of 2008 – the first comprehensive economy wide climate legislation of its kind.
Committing the UK to achieve at least an 80% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. With 5 year carbon budgets to help us stay on track. And robust accountability with independent auditing through the Committee on Climate Change.
But too often, we are told that those who go low-carbon first will sacrifice their competitiveness.
But as the Prime Minister set out last week, reaffirming our shared commitment to being the greenest government ever:
"We are in a global race and the countries that succeed in that race, the economies that will prosper, are those that are the greenest and the most energy efficient."
The real danger we face is being outpaced by other countries who are investing in clean, low-carbon economies.
This is a boom market of £3.3 trillion, growing at 3.7% a year, with investment in renewables outpacing that in fossil fuels.
For our businesses this means opportunities, for our governments tax revenues, for our people jobs, for our societies insulation from the volatility of fossil fuel prices.
So this drive for low-carbon energy is a real engine of growth for hard-pressed economies around the world.
You know, when I am confronted by some of the most dogmatic and blinkered people who deny that climate change is happening, I am reminded of the sentiment of the famous USA Today cartoon.
"If we really are wrong about climate change, we will have created a better world for nothing".
In reality, those who deny climate change and demand a halt to emissions reduction and mitigation work, want us to take a huge gamble with the future of every human being on the planet, every future human being, our children and grand children, and every other living species.
We will not take that risk.
Read his full speech: