Current global climate pledges can not drive real change in the challenges the planet faces and solve the climate crisis.
That’s the suggestion from Professor of the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute Mark Baldwin, who spoke to FNZ about what he said constituted ‘climate hypocrisy’ on the part of the government.
He claims global governments are publicly supporting the Paris Agreement while subsidising the fossil fuel industry, destroying forests and pursuing other harmful policies: “These commitments end up being problematic because there is no plan to solve the climate crisis. These climate pledges are just an idea. The pledge is a good first step but it doesn’t deliver us a solution.”
Mr Baldwin notes current commitments to tackle climate change are the equivalent of declaring a pandemic without a plan for social distancing: “Fundamentally we have to switch from fossil fuel to green energy. And right now we are adding green energy on top of fossil fuels.”
He also suggests individual behaviour choices, such as diets and modes of travel, are important but said it is more fundamental is to replace the supply of fossil fuels with green energy.
Professor Baldwin also advocates that a climate referendum in the UK might be the ideal path for the journey towards energy transition: “If that passed, then it would be the will of the people and the government would have to align, just what happened with Brexit.”
A BEIS spokesperson said: “We are putting the fight against climate change at the heart of our economic recovery from coronavirus.
“The UK was the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050, and we plan to grow our reputation as a world leader in climate action at the COP26 conference next year.
“Our success at phasing fossil fuels out of our energy system is unquestionable. Over half of our electricity now comes from low carbon sources, we are investing to deliver more offshore wind power than any other country, and we recently went more than 67 days without using coal for electricity.”