What’s going on here?
In recent weeks three developed nations, the UK, the US and Australia, have all made announcements which majorly affect their approach to climate change.
What does this mean?
Last week, in her first few days as the new Prime Minister of the UK, Liz Truss announced a raft of measures ostensibly aimed at protecting consumers from rising energy prices and improving energy security. The announcement included an end to the moratorium on fracking and new licences for oil and gas extraction.
In contrast, in a bid to make-up for lost time, Australia has passed a piece of positive climate change legislation for the first time in a decade. Passing by a fairly narrow margin, the bill was supported by politicians from across the political spectrum. It includes national carbon reduction targets and measures to improve accountability.
In the US, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, a potentially transformational policy was announced. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund includes a huge spending package, most of which will go towards funding for a national green bank to finance the transition towards clean energy.
Why should we care?
Of course, judging a country’s climate change performance on these three announcements alone is unfair. Each is starting from a different baseline and is facing different geopolitical pressures.
But, the UK would generally claim to be leading the way and any step in favour of fossil fuels really must be seen as a step backwards. It flies in the face of generally accepted wisdom, and it u-turns on much of the previous government’s policy. The previous Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Kwasi Kwarteng, even tweeted a clear explanation of why increased fossil fuel production in the UK would have no material effect on energy security or prices.
The policy announcements, plus the appointment of climate sceptics to key roles in the cabinet, signals a worrying change in direction for the UK.
- Check out and get involved in Just Stop Oil‘s ongoing campaign to bring an end to all new fossil fuel development
- Write to your MP to highlight your concerns with the direction the government is going in
- Find out about climate positive measures experts have suggested that could help with energy security and prices
*Main image credit – National Geographic