British police officers are at odds over carbon-neutral pledges

British police officers are at odds over carbon-neutral pledges


British police officers are at odds over carbon-neutral pledges

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British police officers are at odds over carbon-neutral pledges
Sunak was criticized for initially saying he would not take part in the UN climate talks


As world leaders and environmental experts gather at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt, last year’s host country Britain is under scrutiny for its commitment to tackling global warming.

London has long had ambitious targets to try to halt the rise in temperature and has enshrined in law its 2050 promise of carbon neutrality.

As part of the Paris Agreement, it has committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 68 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Still, the ministers have come under fire from environmental groups and the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC), a UK body that advises the government.

– “Far astray” –

Green lobby groups gave the government, led by new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a mixed reception and pushed for a range of policy changes.

Green activists have welcomed Sunak’s reintroduction of the fracking ban


“Britain is currently way off track on meeting its legally binding climate targets,” said Mike Childs, director of policy at Friends of the Earth England.

“Sunak got off to a good start on his premiership last month by reinstating the fracking ban.

“But there are many important decisions Mr. Sunak and his government must make to show real climate leadership.”

Sunak, who took office just three weeks ago, has swiftly restored a fracking ban that had been controversially lifted by his short-lived predecessor, Liz Truss.

At the same time, Britain has been trying to ramp up renewable energy and curb coal.

“We are ahead of many nations in reducing our carbon footprint,” Doug Parr, senior scientist at Greenpeace UK, told AFP.

“However, much of this reduction is due to the decline in coal and the rise in renewable energy.”

The CCC, in its latest report, stated that “tangible progress is lagging behind political ambition.”

It warned that “key policy gaps remain”, including the need to reduce fossil fuel demand.

And the advisory panel found that in 2021 the UK’s carbon emissions had actually increased by four per cent compared to the previous year.

– coal mine –

Having gotten off to a rocky start as prime minister, Sunak said he would not be attending COP27 due to urgent domestic commitments.

He was then thrown into an about-face after former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he helped to overthrow, said he was leaving.

Johnson and Truss approved oil and gas drilling in the North Sea despite green opposition


Critics claim Sunak did little to address the climate emergency in his previous role as Treasury Secretary in Johnson’s administration, which preceded Truss’s.

Green activists want Sunak to scrap proposals for Britain’s first new deep coal mine in decades.

The controversial project in Cumbria, north-west England, has long drawn outrage from environmental campaigners.

And it stands in stark contrast to Britain’s commitment to phasing out electricity generation from dirty coal by October 2024.

“Friends of the Earth and others are urging the government to make coal history by denying planning permission for the mine,” Childs said.

He added that they were also firmly opposed to further oil and gas drilling in the North Sea, which Johnson and Truss approved despite green opposition, particularly from direct-action protest groups like Just Stop Oil.

Activists also want Sunak to allow more onshore wind energy and increase support for energy-insulating homes across the UK.

And they have asked the Treasury Department to adjust tax policy to incentivize businesses and households to emit less harmful carbon dioxide, notably by introducing an expanded windfall tax on energy producer profits.

However, activists remain unconvinced about the new prime minister’s approach to climate change.

Conservationists are taking direct action to try and halt exploration of new fossil fuels


Green spending was cut in most energy efficiency projects before the Ukraine conflict and the explosion in domestic fuel prices, they argue.

The CCC wants the government to align its net-zero target with lowering the cost of living, particularly through increased efficiency measures such as better insulation of homes to soften the blow of rising bills.

“So far, Rishi Sunak’s climate change stance has been lackluster,” concluded Parr.

“As chancellor, Sunak did not even mention climate change in major economic statements or conference speeches.

“And as prime minister, he only appeared at COP27 after being pushed.”


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