The Northampton Chronicle & Echo recently published an opinion piece by the Conservative MP for Northampton South: Political Opinion: We need to talk about Net Zero, by Andrew Lewer MP
That's an enthusiastic 'yes, please' from CA-WN to talking about Net Zero:
Andrew Lewer says: The “recent National Infrastructure Commission report has warned Government about increased vulnerability to power cuts caused by storms, as well as potential disruptions in electricity supplies due to low wind”.
CA-WN says: A selective interpretation of the report, which also said “the risk of delay in addressing climate change is now greater than the risk of over correction”, and “concrete action is required to reduce the use of gas and oil”.
Andrew Lewer says: The UK’s goal to deliver net zero by 2050 is “an arbitrary target”.
CA-WN says: The 2050 date was a key recommendation of a May 2019 report by the UK Climate Change Committee, which includes a wealth of supporting evidence.
Andrew Lewer says: The legal order which set this target went through Parliament “with minimal debate and no vote” at a time when “the nation's focus was primarily on Brexit and then the global pandemic of COVID-19”.
CA-WN says: The legislation came into force in June 2019 prior to the Covid pandemic being declared.
Andrew Lewer says: “the UK contributes only 1% of global CO2 emissions”.
CA-WN says: The UK ‘territorial emissions’ i.e. those generated from within the country are around 1% of the global total. However, ‘traded emissions’ (those attributable to goods we import and consume) are almost half as much again. The UK contribution to historical emissions is also relevant – we are responsible for 4.52% of all human-created greenhouse gas emissions since 1750, with only the US, China, Russia and Germany above us in the table.
Andrew Lewer says: “[The UK] is being subjected to some of the most ambitious and far-reaching changes since the industrial revolution.”
CA-WN says: These changes are the result of legislation produced by a Conservative government, and absolutely must be ‘ambitious and far-reaching’ to deliver on the the United Kingdom’s legally binding commitment.
Andrew Lewer says: “The warnings from the National Infrastructure Commission [NIC] … highlight potential vulnerabilities and risks associated with a hasty transition to clean energy.”
CA-WN says: A letter to the government sent by the NIC jointly with the UK Climate Change Committee includes the warnings quoted above (1st para) but doesn’t propose slowing down the transition from fossil fuels.
Andrew Lewer says: The policy to promote diesel cars in the early 2000s is an example of poor policy based on government “placing bets on new technologies” which is equivalent to the current transition to electric vehicles.
CA-WN says: The ‘dash to diesel’ was designed to meet CO2 reduction targets - it was already known that diesel was much worse than petrol for pollution-causing particulates but targets on these were less demanding so a bad trade-off was made. Andrew Lewer’s criticisms of the current EV charging infrastructure and electricity generation capacity are valid but result from government's failure to plan. Regardless, these issues will be resolved in time, unlike the dirty air and resulting health problems caused by internal combustion engines.