It looks as if whatever agreements can be secured in the next few days over cars and cash, trees and coal, the world will definitely see more carbon dioxide produced at the end of this decade than this year. The G20 partners were unwilling to deliver the full $100 bn a year for the lower income countries, and some members were unwilling to curb their own emissions anytime soon.
In the agreements to be made about some of the areas where CO2 could be reduced the UK must not get itself into a position where it promises too much only to end up importing the goods, we need from countries that produce more CO2 making them and supplying them than we would for ourselves. Importing goods from China or energy from the EU does not cut the world’s total carbon footprint but does weaken our economy and reduces our job availability. We will still be burning gas this decade so we should burn more of our own to cut the carbon cost and cash cost of all those LNG tankers coming in from miles round the world.
Attention needs to shift to China, producing 27% of the worlds CO2 and planning to go on increasing it this decade. It needs to turn to Germany, still using plenty of coal and arguing over whether to do so until 2038. It needs to ask Mr Biden how much of his green investment programme has survived his bruising encounters with his own Democrat Senators, who seem to have halved the total spending package the President thought necessary, which included the major change towards green investment. Is President Biden about to preside over the rapid run down of the US coal, oil and gas industries which grew strongly under his predecessor and alarmed green campaigners? Probably not. If he did the USA would have to import more.
Attention also needs to be given to helping the private sector launch an array of compelling products and services that consumers can afford. The green revolution needs to discover the Mini of the new vehicles, the iPad of the new heating systems and the smartphone of the new diets that will walk off the shelves because people like them more and can afford them.
The leading foreign visitors at COP 26 who fly in need to avoid looking cut off from the real world the rest of us live in. It is no good them lecturing each other, all using the same alarmist sound bites if they plan to stick with their cavalcades and private jets flitting from air conditioned hotel to meat rich banquets. It looks odd to be telling the worlds millions to sacrifice their current lifestyles and aspirations and to abandon their cars, holiday flights gas, boilers and diets when the COP elite think their demands do not apply to themselves or can be brushed aside by buying pardons.