Monday, January 24

The Guardian’s Viewpoint on Johnson’s Coal Mine: Political Gain at Planetary Cost | Coal


It must have seemed like a cunning Johnsonian ruse. Build a deep coal mine, the first in decades, in the historic heart of Labor and side with working-class northern voters who want jobs and against environmentalists who, one could astutely suggest, prefer to save. the planet than local communities. Boris Johnson thought, no doubt with a cunning that has confused many opponents, that he could frame the argument in those terms and still meet his “net zero” targets because the vast majority of Cumbrian coal would end up for export in place of domestic use. (is very sulfuric to be used to make steel in Great Britain). The upshot is that greenhouse gas emissions would end up on some other nation’s books when carbon budgets are calculated. Not unlike his view of the pie, Johnson was saying that his policy on coal is “get it and get it hot.”

The problem for Johnson was that the Biden administration would not accept any of that. The United States had the good sense to understand the implications if Britain were allowed to go ahead with a plan to mine coal and ship it abroad without ruining its own carbon budget. If everyone had the same point of view, the world would be toasted. The United States reasons that if the problem is employment, then use state investment in green technologies for carbonless steel. Within a few days of John kerryThe US envoy for climate, warning Johnson that coal has no future, the government admitted that it would be “requesting” the planning request for the Cumbria mine. Importantly, Johnson wouldn’t be embarrassed to take a 180-degree turn in the run-up to the UN’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November.

The climate emergency is a real threat: the UN estimates that greenhouse gas emissions must decrease 45% in the next decade to limit global temperatures to 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial levels. However, the mini-me, Mr. Johnsons, continues to appear in positions of power. On Friday, Mathias Cormann, a right-wing coal-loving Australian politician, was announced as the new secretary general of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Cormann should not have been allowed anywhere near work. He had labeled the net zero goals for 2050 as “extremists … reckless and irresponsible” and in office abolished a carbon pricing scheme that had driven cuts in emissions. The fact that Cormann was elected by consensus is an indictment of the process. He speaks to the OECD’s concern about the rise of China, which Australia has been grappling with recently, to the benefit of Cormann.

The OECD is where the rich world sits shaping the global economic agenda – making the laggards strive for the results that their most successful members achieve. The organization’s secretary general is a powerful figure with access to the G20 leaders. The OECD has a critical climate role, as the richest nations have to decarbonize first. They are responsible for the largest atmospheric reserve of carbon dioxide and have the financial and technological expertise to deal with it.

The climate policy of the right-wingers in Australia amounts to following a rabbit down the hole and hoping to emerge in Wonderland. Cormann’s appointment is likely to be in exchange for Australia announcing its own net zero target for greenhouse gas emissions. This realpolitik exposes conservatism as committed not to climate policy, but to the pursuit of a higher moral justification for selfishness.

Like Johnson, Australian right-wingers are lip service to environmental issues (Cormann had the gall to put climate at the center of his job application) while peddling green policies and a shrinking economy. This kind of politics, which sadly dominates today, paves the way to perdition. If all national commitments submitted to the UN so far were met, emissions would be reduced by just 1% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. Biden is making sense when he offers a transformative fiscal and regulatory agenda to showcase the positive role of the state aimed at creating well-paying jobs and limiting catastrophic environmental damage. The world should listen.




www.theguardian.com

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