29 February 2020
Claire Perry O'Niell is clearly correct in saying that Boris Johnson just doesn't "get it" in relation to climate change.
His announcement that the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles will be banned from 2035 is a commitment to doing too little too late, and (given the lifetime of those vehicles) a signal to the oil and motor industries of business as usual all the way to 2050.
The government proclaims its target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (which they are way off course to meet) as if this will solve everything and makes the UK the world leader. In fact, the science tells us that the whole world must reach net zero by that date, and at least halve emissions by 2030, to give us just a 50-50 chance of avoiding a total climate catastrophe threatening our whole civilization. And that, we should remind ourselves, is the timid scientific consensus which has repeatedly underestimated the problem so far, whilst UK govenment statistics still conveniently leave out all the emissions from our imports, and from air and sea transport.
If Boris really did "get" climate change, he would have announced a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2025, and a ban on selling petrol or diesel from 2035. That is the scale of the action that is needed, and we will all need to get used to the idea now, so that we can plan a fair and managed transition to what is to come.
Brig Oubridge, Salisbury