IPCC report shocks some people

19th Aug 2021


Last week, the IPCC report concluded that human activities contributed towards climate change and that without global action, global warming will pose a real threat to how we live on this planet. The analysis is detailed; the science compelling the conclusions, frankly, were not a surprise.

There were some who were genuinely shocked and outraged, others no doubt feigned such emotions to play to an audience. Regrettably, some dismissed the report while others advocated a hair-shirt approach to UK lifestyles. These extreme views are simply wrong. But so too is the “fairy-tale” that we can easily convert to a green lifestyle, with green jobs, green cars, and green homes. There is going to have to be a compromise – a third way found.

Minimising the impact on individuals whilst maximising the carbon reductions, needs to be baked into our thinking. I know this risks upsetting the green evangelists and the green sceptics, but charting a course for success is far more important than the sensitivities of a few.

I’d also add, that from the comfort of a middle-class, metropolitan backdrop the impact of climate change is shocking, but so too is the current daily experience of billions across the globe. In addressing climate change, we must not act in a manner that deprives others of improving their lot in life. This leads to some basic questions of where best to fund change.

In the UK, we can spend a trillion pounds decarbonising our 1 per cent of global emissions, but if we fail to get global agreements to match our actions then we will have failed the planet and our own citizens. So let’s revisit the benefits of carbon offsets, in the developing world, whilst at the same time doing our bit in the UK. The developmental co-benefits of carbon reduction programmes such as clean cooking to replace wood burning are too great to be ignored, or dismissed as “greenwash”. Changing the lives of millions across the world, for a relatively small price (£12 a tonne of carbon), must be championed not as an alternative to domestic action but additional. This way we might achieve a globally just transition.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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