Awkward truth about the government’s new climate change promises

19th November 2017 | Commercial Energy

The UK has finished climate talks in Germany. It’s made some new commitments on top of its old ones. But some of its recent actions cast serious doubt on these commitments. And one analyst shares with The Canary the inconvenient truth about this.

On 17 November, two weeks of talks on climate change ended in Bonn, Germany. The meeting, labelled COP23 – 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – sought to resolve some of the more difficult operational issues around the Paris Accord. This is an agreement to work on lowering greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one that the UK government says it’s firmly committed to.

Climate Change

But fossil fuels, despite evidence that they contribute to rising temperatures, played a peculiar role in the conference. Because UK coal and nuclear companies attended the conference to promote their use. With Donald Trump withdrawing the US from the Paris agreement, this might not be surprising. In fact, it may seem consistent with the American approach.

The UK, on the other hand, looked less consistent. One of the headlines coming out of COP23 was that the UK and Canada would form an anti-coal alliance. They plan to phase out coal power plants and cease investment in coal. The UK also held a panel discussion on “the importance and practicalities of the UK partnerships in driving the development of green finance between the partner countries.”

But on 9 November new broke about a £1.5bn ($2bn) loan guaranteed from the UK to Saudi Arabia’s Aramco. Aramco is a state-owned oil company. Energy analyst Mika Minio-Paluello, from the organisation Platform, says this guarantee undermines the credibility of the UK’s efforts to address the climate crisis. Saudi Aramco is the world’s largest oil company, with proven reserves of 265 billion barrels of crude oil.

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