Ian Collins clashes with XR member over China's role in climate change
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Britain hosts the UN’s COP26 climate conference later this year, which will see leaders from around the world gather in Glasgow. Boris Johnson wants Britain to lead the way, with the UK aiming to become a net zero greenhouse gas polluter by 2050.
As part of this effort the Government is targeting ‘greenwashing’, when firms make misleading or inaccurate claims about their environmental credentials.
Price comparison websites are also in the firing line, and could be required to provide consumers with more details of how environmentally friendly different offers are.
A document produced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), seen by the Daily Telegraph, includes two “calls for evidence”.
One will “look at checks on tariffs which are described as green to consumers, who may be misled into signing up to them based on their green credentials”.
The second will focus on “greater regulation of price comparison websites to ensure consumers have the correct information to make informed decisions about which energy retailer (and tariff) to choose”.
According to the Telegraph there are fears within the Government that, whilst it is illegal for companies to make grossly inaccurate claims, some are exaggerating their environmental credentials.
Speaking to the paper an insider said: “Nobody can say the energy coming out of your plug is completely green, because not all the energy sources going into the grid are green.
“It is really about building the clarity of understanding about what customers are getting when they buy certain tariffs.”
A spokesman for BEIS commented: “Our Energy White Paper set out our commitment to look further into energy tariffs that are being branded as ‘green’ to ensure they are suitably transparent for consumers. We will set out further plans in due course.”
Earlier this week a major UN climate change report was released, which says humans are “unequivocally” to blame for climate change.
It notes the past five years have been the hottest recorded since 1850, and claims it is “virtually certain” extreme heat events are becoming more common.
António Guterres, the UN secretary general, described it as a “code red for humanity”.
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He added: “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe.
“But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses.
“I count on government leaders and all stakeholders to ensure COP26 is a success.”
The UN report found since 1970, global temperatures have risen at a faster rate than at any time in the past 2,000 years.
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They warn this is “already affecting many weather and climate extremes in every region across the globe”.
This year North America and Greece have been hit by huge forest fires, whilst Germany and China have experienced deadly flooding.
In response Boris Johnson issued a call for action on social media.
He tweeted: “The IPCC [International Panel on Climate Change] report couldn’t be clearer: humans are causing potentially catastrophic climate change.
“The world must act together at COP26 to avoid incalculable damage in the future.”
Environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion is planning another wave of action starting this month.
In 2019 it succeeded in shutting down large parts of central London, before it’s encampments were broken up by police.
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