The IEA World Energy Outlook 2021 sets out in very clear terms and stark figures what the world needs to do to keep below an average temperature rise of 1.5C; and how far short we are falling. It envisages the total investment required will have to rise to $4 trillion a year by 2030 to achieve Net Zero by 2050.
The current power cuts come from a combination of increased demand from manufacturers, a slowdown in coal production, partly caused by improved health and safety measures in mines, and the restrictions put on coal use by national guidelines to restrict carbon emissions.
The paradox of Boris Johnson’s assertion that the market will sort itself out is that they are in no position politically to allow the market to do that.
Labour Leader Keir Starmer has recently staked out a distinct position from the Tory government on climate change, that falls well short of what is needed. Labour proposes that £30 billion is put into a “green recovery” – well below the £85 billion investment proposed by the TUC. There needs to be an unremitting campaign to pressure the government, but Starmer is reluctant to challenge it.
G7 countries have contributed most to climate change and it is absurd to claim that they are leading the way in tackling it. The Tory government defends continued oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. So, its message at COP26 will be “do as I say, not as I do”.
The split in the ruling class – between those who want to continue with business as usual and those who will try to find solutions compatible with capital – is sharply apparent in the US. In the EU the current that thinks this crisis can be “managed” with a few adaptations is in charge – indicating what an unjust transition could look like.