Green economy the way forward

I recently met, on Zoom, with constituents from B30 Churches Together to think about Cop26 and discuss what might be done locally to tackle climate change.

We talked about community recycling, cleaner transport and many other initiatives and they reminded me of the positive impact that the Jubilee 2000 Debt Campaign had on world leaders.

Cop26 is the annual meeting of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. It’s expected to attract 30,000 attendees, not to mention thousands more for fringe events, plus all the security personnel and protestors. That’s a lot of air miles!

I’m also surprised that the minister, chosen by Boris Johnson to oversee Cop26, had to fly to over 30 countries, travelling some 200,000 miles, that’s eight times round the earth, as part of his preparations.

That’s not very environmentally friendly, especially in an age of Zoom.

Cop26 is supposed to agree trading rules for carbon, a $100 billion dollar fund to help poorer countries, decide how to end dependence on fossil fuels like coal and oil and set realistic measures to reach net zero before it’s too late.

A green economy can provide the jobs for the future. JLR should be helped to build electric cars and we need a giga factory in Coventry for the batteries they’ll require.

The Energy Research Accelerator projects in Birmingham can deliver hydrogen fuel, combined heat and power and smart, energy efficient homes.

Green jobs and a green economy are the way forward but I wonder if our government is treating it seriously enough.

They’ve finally produced their long-awaited Heat and Buildings strategy with promises of £5,000 grants to phase out gas boilers and convert to heat pumps. It sounds good, except that a conversion of that kind costs about £20,000 per household and their plans only cover 30,000 homes per year while their own targets say it should be 600,000.

I want to share the hope and optimism Churches Together draw from the Jubilee 2000 campaign but right now Glasgow looks like a bit like a jamboree when what we need is leadership and real action designed to save the planet.

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