UK Parliament declares climate change emergency?

UK Parliament declares climate change emergency, Aunty tells me. The only hint the Beeb gives that they think this is all posturing is subtle: they don't bother tell you what was in the motion, or bother link to it. The Graun, who are perhaps less aware, say The motion called for the declaration of a climate emergency and urgent remedial action such as a green industrial revolution as well as changes to transport, agriculture and other areas; but again, can't be arsed to link to the motion itself. But I care deeply - well, it is unfair to mock it without reading it - and so found:
That this House declares an environment and climate emergency following the finding of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that to avoid a more than 1.5°C rise in global warming, global emissions would need to fall by around 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching net zero by around 2050; recognises the devastating impact that volatile and extreme weather will have on UK food production, water availability, public health and through flooding and wildfire damage; notes that the UK is currently missing almost all of its biodiversity targets, with an alarming trend in species decline, and that cuts of 50 per cent to the funding of Natural England are counterproductive to tackling those problems; calls on the Government to increase the ambition of the UK’s climate change targets under the Climate Change Act 2008 to achieve net zero emissions before 2050, to increase support for and set ambitious, short-term targets for the roll-out of renewable and low carbon energy and transport, and to move swiftly to capture economic opportunities and green jobs in the low carbon economy while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors; and further calls on the Government to lay before the House within the next six months urgent proposals to restore the UK’s natural environment and to deliver a circular, zero waste economy.
Meh. Dull and wrong-headed. No mention of a carbon tax, but this is command-and-control Corbyn, so that's hardly surprising. Note the while managing risks for workers and communities currently reliant on carbon intensive sectors which is the kind of special pleading that should be firmly squashed.

As if to prove that the pols are uselss for anything but squabbling, amendment b adds some irrelevant hobby-horsing about Brexit, and another pile of useless words. Amendment a is just dull.

Still, on the plus side, this satisfies the first demand of the Extinction Rebellion folks, so they can be well satisfied with their excellent progress. Or does "Tell the truth: Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change" mean they want the govt do do something? Maybe they aren't so happy after all. FWIW, I would say that on "tell the truth" they have nothing to complain about: the govt - as pretty well all Western govts - is straight down the IPCC line, perhaps even ahead of it; just read their gumpf.


Idea: To The Reader of these Sonnets by Michael Drayton - TF
* Bowties considered inappropriate? Update! AOC insults Rossiter!
* Would you like to read something more positive? Try We can't save the planet with half measures. We need to go all the way by Varshini "who he?" Prakash in the Graun
Warren Buffett’s Case for Capitalism
* Sorry, Emma Thompson, but you’ll never be perfect enough to save the planet - by Zoe Williams. Grauniad luvvie who cares deeply but wants to continue to fly defends other luvvie ditto.
An Economy Is Neither a Family Nor a Firm; It Is a Catallaxy
Am I a denier, a human extinction denier? - Mike Hulme; or, THE REPORT OF MIKE HULME'S EXTINCTION..... - RS; or, ATTP's take.
The 10 facts that prove we're in a climate emergency - Wired. Spot the stupidity.


Andy Mitchell said...

The Tory strategy over past years has been to talk like climate hawks while conducting business as usual. So extra hawkish language from them fails to excite.

Andy Mitchell said...

And its not just the government. In my area's local elections we have just elected a full set of Green Party candidates. That's with a car-bound electorate most of whom use their cars no matter how short the journey, and who trash their front gardens to create extra parking.

Victor Venema said...

"No mention of a carbon tax, but this is command-and-control Corbyn"

My impression is that, certainly in Anglo-America, the left is more in favour of market-based policies like a carbon tax than right. Also beyond carbon taxes, the right is nowadays America First, trade wars, protectionism, ignoring externalities, and micro-managing the economy (Carrier, BMW, Harley Davidson, ...).

Also when it comes to bringing supply and demand together on the electricity market, the right seems to have no faith what so ever in markets and pretend that fluctuations in demand are unique to renewable energy, while they exist for any commodity. I think markets can solve this.

It might be time to update your priors, dearest weasel.

William M. Connolley said...

> the left is

I don't think so. All I hear from them is regulation.

> the right is

I'm not sure who your "right" is in this. Trump is, but he's hardly "right". Most business is opposed to his trade wars and protectionism.

> no faith what so ever in markets

That's obscure. What is your source?

Victor Venema said...

> I don't think so. All I hear from [the left] is regulation.

That is the only thing you can pass under right wing opposition. Regulation can be tuned to help the right corporate overlords or groups that vote conservative to make it palatable to the "pro-business" right wing. Politics is the art of the possible.

Every left wing platform I know proposes a carbon price as main mechanism, but try to get it into a coalition agreement with a right wing party, even the ones who are nominally in favour of it.

> I'm not sure who your "right" is in this. Trump is, but he's hardly "right". Most business is opposed to his trade wars and protectionism.

I was not aware that business was already officially the representative of the right. Sometimes I wonder if politics would be easier without the middlemen.

Trump is the Republican party. He is very popular among the voters (90% approval, they changed their pro-trade stance 180° the second he won; submit to the leader). Hardly any Congress person dares to oppose him. They did not block his trade wars justified with at beat half-legal excuses (Canada being a national security thread, right). They did not block his micro-management of the economy; the Dow Jones trade volume is up enormously since he got into office due to all the chaos Trump produces.

This is the modern right. There is one Senator in the USA who pays lip service to your libertarian ideology, while voting with Trump when it matters.

> That's obscure. What is your source?

?? Did you never debate a right winger on the evils of renewable energy? The menace in the White House just claimed the TV would go out when the wind does not blow. The crowd was cheering their lungs out. This stupidity is the new right.

He clearly has no trust that the market will make sure there is power (at a higher price) when there is no cheap wind power. That the market will find the most efficient way to bring supply and demand together, either by reducing demand were that is relatively easy (i.e., not your TV), or transport, or other renewable sources, or storage. Long live the market!!


I am shocked that we have yet to see a Graun headline blaming the Kentuck Derby upset on climate change.

Besides the manifest contribution of temperature driven evapotranspiration to the sloppy track, the dilution of the Epsom Downs stewards' julips, by the rain left then too sober to amiably let pass the lurch that disqualified the first horse to finish.

Andy Mitchell said...

Is this Poe's Law in action?

Phil said...

Not wanting to claim Trump I understand, but he fits. All the religious support, all the crony capitalism, all the lying and deceit. Oh, and the almost complete support of Republicans, the right wing party of the USA. I'd say Trump is very much "right". Just like the Kaiser, who's army had "God Is With Us" belt buckles. Along with Franco of Spain, Mussolini of Italy and ... can't say that word, can I?

Trump wants two more years in office because the press and the democrats are so mean to him. Just two more? Really?? Oh and the Democrats are so mean to him as well.


Liberterriers ... DuckDuckGo brings me to this:


Which actually wasn't what I was looking for.


Andy, Poes Law placed 5th in the Marland Hunt Cup some year ago

William M. Connolley said...

> Every left wing platform I know proposes a carbon price as main mechanism

Really? Including the famous GND?

> officially the representative of the right

This doesn't really make sense. "The right" is a nebulous ill-defined concept so doesn't have an official representative. You seem to fnid it convenient to disregard businesses views in this matter because they are inconveniently opposed to Trump's.

> Trump is the Republican party... Hardly any Congress person dares to oppose him.

You implicitly contradict yourself. Trump is not the Repubs. That few *dare* contradict him confirms the obvious: many oppose his policies.

Victor Venema said...

The Green New Deal is a non-binding statement of intent, it very short and mainly gives aims. It is perfectly possible for law proposing a carbon tax to fit into it to obtain these goals. Sadly, such a law would not have much chance of passing in a Congress dominated politicians who are business investments.

Business are not humans, they should have no votes in a Democracy and I should be able to ignore them. Unfortunately they invest in politicians and apparently even many libertarians have forgotten the warnings of their prophet Adam Smith who warned against this. Instead they live in fantasy worlds where corporations are good and people are bad, while back in reality corporations fight behind the curtain for an end to free markets which limit their profits.

So you should be able to come up with a decent number of real right-wing politicians fighting (not just paying lip service) for a carbon tax. I know one (cannot come up with his name) and will patiently wait.

90% of Republicans approve of Trump. Do you mean many as in too many politicians for a diner party or many as in a decent percentage? If you mean the latter you are fooling yourself. Trump mostly does what their donors want and is popular with their voters.

The Republican party never cared about free markets, they cared about their donors, but they also no longer use this as a rhetorical tool to make the donors more powerful. They now keep their coalition of billionaires, corporations, racists and fools together by arguing against free trade. You cannot get everything and you somehow have to get enough votes for policies that transfer power to the powerful and hurt normal Americans.

Victor Venema said...

That should have been: "Instead they [seem to] live in fantasy worlds where corporations are good and people are bad"

I can only see the outside and that explains the variance.

Phil said...

VV> Trump is the Republican party... Hardly any Congress person dares to oppose him.

> You implicitly contradict yourself. Trump is not the Repubs. That few *dare* contradict him confirms the obvious: many oppose his policies.

Opposing his policies? Only in a trivial sense. Republicans have wanted a balanced budget every time a Democrat was the President. Never seem to when a Republican was President. No difference, this time. Borrow and spend Republicans. Don't confuse rhetoric with belief.

William M. Connolley said...

Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero.

Victor Venema said...

Do you agree with the book blurb? "Economist and bestselling author Tyler Cowen says our biggest problem is that we don’t love business enough."

William M. Connolley said...

It is a book blurb; it is hyperbole. No, it isn't our biggest problem, but the world-view that regards business as "bad" and forgets all the benefits of free market capitalism is definitely a big problem.

Victor Venema said...

Corporations are a useful invention. These amoral robots to create wealth should just not have any power, especially no political power, as Adam Smith already stated, because they will literally do everything to create money.

William M. Connolley said...

Corporations inevitably have to have some power, or they could not do anything.

Since they represent conglomerations of money / resource, I think they should have some political power.

I think you've failed to read AS properly. Care to try actually quoting him? Hint: the obvious one doesn't say what you just said.

Victor Venema said...

This is what the experts say: "By the same token, governance should be kept out of the hands of businesspeople, since they are likely to use it to promote their particular interests, and not be concerned for the well-being of the citizenry as a whole: Smith’s opposition to the East India Company is based on this principle (see Muthu 2008)."

Victor Venema said...

Humans who see the benefits of free markets for humans can defend business. That should not be done against human interests by corporations with nearly unlimited funds to destroy democratic values.

William M. Connolley said...

Your assertion was "Corporations... should just not have any power, especially no political power as Adam Smith already stated". I don't think that is true. Your quote - not from Smith, but from someone paraphrasing him - has two problems: (1) it isn't from Smith; and (2) it isn't what you said. Handing governance over to corporations, or rather not doing so, is not at all the same thing as them having no political power, that power including influencing politics.

> destroy democratic values

Read The Road to Serfdom.

Graeme said...

It looks as if Victor wants government by some entity that has no self-interest. I wonder if he can give an example of such an entity

Victor Venema said...

> Read The Road to Serfdom.

I was not aware that Road to Serfdom was a anti-democratic book.

Look at modern America if you are interested in how humans are abused due to the stupidity of giving amoral tools political power.

Graeme, I want government by the people. They call it democracy. America was once proud of its democracy. Authoritarians do not like it, they think they should determine everything.

Phil said...

VV: You forget that the weasel is anti-democratic.

Victor Venema said...

Your countryman Lohn Oliver just did a segment on the Green New Deal on Last Week Tonight.

His main topic was putting a price on carbon emissions.

Price for me.

He identified as the main problem that your political movement has made the word tax into a dirty word.

Price for me.

P.S. Phil, the world is not so black and white.

William M. Connolley said...

> Your countryman Lohn Oliver just did a segment on the Green New Deal on Last Week Tonight.

"Video unavailable. This video is not available." Although since Lohn Oliver isn't my countryman, presumably you weren't talking to me. But anyway, videos are for children, real people write stuff down. Mind you, if it was https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/climate-change-heres-some-fucking-mentos-in-a-bottle-of-coca-cola/ you can keep it.

Victor Venema said...

> Which pol movement is that?

Market fundamentalism.

> (1) sounds rather black and white to me. Are you sure you're consistent?

Just because you are not 100% in favour of rule by the people, does not have to mean you are against it.

But I do not want to put words in your mouth, if you self-identity as anti-democratic then my defense of your position was wrong.

> Although since John Oliver isn't my countryman,

He is from the UK. Don't they have VPNs in the UK? Most will need one to circumvent the right-wing porn block without having someone publish the list of porn they consumed when they run for office with positions the powerful do not like.

> videos are for children

No need to watch it if you are too mature for entertainment. Then you will have to trust me that an influential media person identified the Green New Deal with putting a price on carbon emissions, rather than your contention that a GND is against it. Furthermore, that there is at least one more human who sees the right wing as the blockade against market solutions for climate change.

> "Are any [climate solutions] for fee?" https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/05/13/climate-change-heres-some-fucking-mentos-in-a-bottle-of-coca-cola/

No, they are not for free, they are an investment that promotes long-term growth.

William M. Connolley said...

> Market fundamentalism.

Ah. Then I reject your characterisation of it as "my" political movement, since you are being so careful about putting words into my mouth. You may say laissez-faire if you like (I am taking my defn from wiki). I also reject your assertion that it is a strong political movement; you only have to look at Trump's tariffs or the EU's regulatory barriers to see how weak it is.

> He is from the UK.

Gosh, I live and learn; though I'd rather not fill my brain with home-countries-of-comedians information.

> trust me that

I am happy to trust you for the words of comedians, if that's the kind of thing you wanted to be trusted for. It is however a shame you couldn't find a more reliable source for the GND's opinion on carbon taxes. Indeed, it seems revealing that you can't find anything better.

Victor Venema said...

> laissez-faire if you like

I'd rather not, but the term points to the same concept.

> I am happy to trust you for the words of comedians,... Indeed, it seems revealing that you can't find anything better.

Happened to come across it and thought of you. Did not know you were against entertainment.

Back to the original topic, what gave you the idea that the Green New Deal is against putting a price on carbon? They clearly want to do more, but I have never seen anyone arguing we should do everything, but avoid using markets as an efficient tool.

William M. Connolley said...

> points to the same concept

Not in the wiki article I was using for a defn. Perhaps you had something else in mind.

> what gave you the idea that the Green New Deal is against putting a price on carbon?

One again, you're putting words into my mouth. The sequence went:

VV> Every left wing platform I know proposes a carbon price as main mechanism
WMC> Really? Including the famous GND?
VV> what gave you the idea that the Green New Deal is against putting a price on carbon?

Looking again at the GND I see that the answer is that the doc itself doesn't mention tax, until the FAQ section. Even there it is very thin; there is nothing enthusiastic about CT at all. There's These projects will all require investment. We’re not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we’re saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit (warning: I've joined two bullet points), but that doesn't actually say CT. The single explicit mention of CT is as a fundraiser.

So I cannot see how the GND can be said to include CT (or other price on carbon) "as main mechanism".

Victor Venema said...

"Every left wing platform I know proposes a carbon price as main mechanism, but try to get it into a coalition agreement with a right wing party, even the ones who are nominally in favour of it."

The quote "as main mechanism" was about party platforms, not about the GND. The GND lays out a vision on where we should go and hardly talks about mechanisms. That FAQ is not part of the resolution and was retracted.

But I am coming back here because I came across a major poll by one of the German BBCs, which this month had many climate questions. You may like the question on page 14 of the document, page 11 according to the page numbering.

The question explains the money of a carbon tax may be given back (may, not will) and then asks whether people are principally for or against a carbon tax.

The outliers are the greens and the far right.
Greens: 60% support, 34% against
AfD: 11% support, 8% against

The other parties (social democrats, democratic socialists, conservatives and classical liberals) are majority against from 58% for the social democrats to 68% for the classical liberals.

It would naturally be fair to say that the classical liberals only claim to be classical liberals, but are in reality a pro-business party, who hate free markets because competition is bad for profits. However the trend over all parties is clear: the more right-wing a party is the more they are against a carbon tax.

Victor Venema said...

Yanis Varoufakis: "[A carbon tax] is an excellent idea, as long as it is a neutral, progressive tax. That is, as long as the state returns every penny to the weakest and poorest of citizens in the form of credits."

Doesn't get much more left than that. This is the political movement of the people should determine the rules of society, the rich should not lord over us and naturally still seeing a carbon tax as a good tool. One should just not make the tool the goal, one should just not replace morality with profit maximization.

William M. Connolley said...

> other parties... classical liberals

I don't think there are any parties who are classic liberals. Here or in Germany or I think anywhere. Which party are you suggesting as an example of CL?

I think YV is a failure and not worth listening to; so I wouldn't draw any lesson from him. And his ideas about what to do with tax are, naturally enough, ill thought out.

Victor Venema said...

FDP is the German classical liberal party. Even if you would see them as a normal right party, the pattern would still be that the parties to the right reject market solutions to climate change.

I had not expected you to agree with YV. I cited him to illustrate that the left has no problems with a carbon tax.

The main policy of his political movement in the EU elections is a Green New Deal to reduce climate impact with a big infrastructure program.

The libertarian propaganda at least partially worked and people are allergic to the word taxes, even revenue neutral ones. This forces parties who would like to do something about climate change to go to infrastructure programs, while acknowledging that carbon taxes are theoretically an excellent idea. Politics is the art of the possible.

William M. Connolley said...

L's are in favour of smaller govt, of course, which inclines them against taxes; and most think the various govts of the world are doing a poor job spending the taxes they do take; I agree. This tends to disincline them against CT; and they distrust assertions that they could be revenue neutral, fed by the words of people like YV who regard them as yet another fount of govt largesse to buy popularity with.

So far we agree. What I dispute is your (to me bizarre) assertion that "libertarian propaganda" is responsible for dislike of CT. This suggests a degree of influence that the L position (sadly) lacks.


OK, thanks, I didn't know about them. You can consider yourself lucky to have such a party; it's a shame it's support is so low (supporting my assertion that L/CL influence is slight). I think I can claim them as kinda in favour of carbon taxes (we have to give a tangible price to the quantity to be reduced, the CO2 emission (Google translate, of course)) so I'm not sure why you think they are opposed. Though they do seem distressingly keen on the stupid ETS.

> to illustrate that

Then I don't know why you bothered. Because I'm not asserting otherwise. I'm disputing your "main mechanism" assertion. I hope you are able to understand the difference.

Victor Venema said...

I said their voters oppose a carbon tax, not the party. That is sometimes the beauty of a strong idea. A carbon tax fits into their ideology, so they cannot be officially against it. They just vote against any actual implementation because reasons.

The irony is that the voters of the FDP tend to be people who have the strongest government protections against competition: lawyers, apothecaries, notaries, etc. Or they are so rich that money is not an existential issue. They are the privileged who do not feel the violence of the market, while thinking they are the free market.

> I'm disputing your "main mechanism" assertion. I hope you are able to understand the difference.

The main thing is to get things done. In case of the energy transition the subsidies were higher for roof top solar, which benefited the conservatives in Bavaria, it includes environmentally stupid biofuels to benefit conservative farmers and recently the conservatives made off-shore wind more profitable than onshore wind because off-shore needs a lot of capital and is done by corporations, while onshore wind was often organised by small local cooperatives. One of the political advantages of regulation over a carbon tax is that you can give some meat to the conservatives and get it passed. Politics is the art of the possible.

Yes, I should have written "as a main mechanism". The left is typically not so naive to think that you only need a carbon tax. For example, to first make flights more expensive and only then start building rail is not good politics. You do the reverse if you want to get something done and reelected.

William M. Connolley said...

Since I run across it, it's worth a nice quote from Smith:

"People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary."

My bold. Source Antitrust and Ideology by Pierre Lemieux.