Paris; as usual the politicians are long on self-congratulation and short on firm and precise action.  According to the Meinshausen carbon budget, which is accepted by pretty much all climate scientists, by 2012 the world  could afford to burn another  565 gigatonnes of carbon before we get into serious trouble. As, even on the most conservative estimates, we are burning 30 gt a year that gives us about twenty years to save the planet.  But according to the Paris agreement countries aren’t even going to think about cutting more carbon until 2020.   There are no firm targets and dates but only vague aspirations.  China says its emissions will peak by 2030.  One might have thought  that even the most elementary calculation might suggest  that 2030 will be far too late.   George Osborne reneged on the Government’s commitment to spend £1bn supporting  development of carbon capture only a week before the Paris discussions began.  The UK government is backing fracking for all it is worth, despite the fact that every  serious scientific study – Cornell 2009, Harvard 2012, Chemtrust 2015 and Tyndall – have all concluded that fracking is even worse than coal because of the methane emissions.  Methane, which dissipates  more quickly than carbon but until it does so is far more lethal, is 72 times worse over twenty years than CO2, just about the time we have left to save the planet.  Amber Rudd – I couldn’t believe  what I was hearing –said in Parliament yesterday that of course the government had reduced the subsidies on renewables because their price had fallen.  Of course!  It is a cry of triumph from the lunatic asylum. .  You would have thought that in view of the now virtual unanimity of the scientists and the unimagineably terrible future for our children that they are predicting, any sane person would have strained every muscle and nerve to avoid such a catastrophe.  But the price of renewables has come down.  So of course we are going to reduce subsidies for renewables.  And of course we are going to continue subsidizing fossil fuels. The politicians, for all their brave words, are failing us.   They just aren’t serious.


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