Perry responds to Extinction Rebellion

Claire Perry: Pressure welcome
Claire Perry: Pressure welcome

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry has responded to ongoing climate protests by the Extinction Rebellion group.

Perry said she accepts that urgent action to curb carbon emissions is necessary, and welcomed the pressure on government to act. However, she pointed out that the UK has already made progress in reducing emissions since passing the Climate Change Act, decarbonising faster than any other G20 country, with the UK’s low carbon economy also growing two to three times faster than the economy as a whole (though these numbers are disputed).

The Act sets a legally binding target of 80% emissions reductions on 1990 levels by 2050.

Perry added that the Committee on Climate Change’s report into the feasibility of a net zero target, due to be published next week, would inform government’s next steps. It is expected to call for a net zero target by 2050.

Perry pointed out that the independent committee has previously questioned the technical and financial feasibility of achieving net zero, as recommended last October by the IPCC. She said it will be “extremely interesting to see what has changed and how we can rise to that challenge”.

Extinction Rebellion protesters want government to commit to a 2025 net zero target. While theoretically possible, it is highly unlikely to happen. However, Perry and others will welcome the pressure on government, as it will provide greater ammunition to justify larger budgets for decarbonisation initiatives.

See Perry’s statement here.

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  1. Does Perry claim Thunberg is factually incorrect? (part of speech to UK Commons):

    ” The UK is, however, very special. Not only for its mind-blowing historical carbon debt, but also for its current, very creative, carbon accounting.

    Since 1990 the UK has achieved a 37% reduction of its territorial CO2 emissions, according to the Global Carbon Project. And that does sound very impressive. But these numbers do not include emissions from aviation, shipping and those associated with imports and exports. If these numbers are included the reduction is around 10% since 1990 – or an an average of 0.4% a year, according to Tyndall Manchester.

    And the main reason for this reduction is not a consequence of climate policies, but rather a 2001 EU directive on air quality that essentially forced the UK to close down its very old and extremely dirty coal power plants and replace them with less dirty gas power stations. And switching from one disastrous energy source to a slightly less disastrous one will of course result in a lowering of emissions.

    But perhaps the most dangerous misconception about the climate crisis is that we have to “lower” our emissions. Because that is far from enough. Our emissions have to stop if we are to stay below 1.5-2C of warming. The “lowering of emissions” is of course necessary but it is only the beginning of a fast process that must lead to a stop within a couple of decades, or less. And by “stop” I mean net zero – and then quickly on to negative figures. That rules out most of today’s politics. “


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