There is no possibility in solving the climate change problem without the cooperation of China. And whatever the UK does to get down to net zero carbon is going to be small fry (1% of global CO2 emissions) compared to what China could and should do.
Tony Blair said that Britain would do better helping developing countries transition to net carbon zero economies because developed countries are reducing their emissions while developing countries are increasing them. That’s with the exception of China (among others) which is consistently increasing their CO2 emissions year-on-year.
The coal power capacity starting construction in China was six times as large as that in all of the rest of the world combined [in 2022].Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air
In fact, Tony Blair said that, “One year’s rise in China’s emissions would outscore the whole of Britain’s emissions for a year.”
Britain emits about 350 million tonnes of CO2 a year while in 2021 China increased emissions by 510 million tonnes, to 11.5 billion. That said, Britain is the eighth-biggest emitter since 1850 (The Times reports today).
Blair doesn’t want Labour to pass up the chance of winning the next UK general election by putting too great a cost on the long-suffering taxpayer in order to tackle climate change in Britain. That’s the fear. And that’s why he advises that Labour should not focus too heavily on ways to curb climate change but focus more on what he calls ‘financing the transition’.
He’s referring to developing countries which have to grow their economies in a way whereby they transition from energy from fossil fuels to energy from sustainable sources. How do you finance that transition?
He believes that AI and technology is going to be the key to dealing with global warming. He said, “There is no answer to climate change without technology. Don’t ask us to do a huge amount when, frankly, whatever we do in Britain is not really going to [affect] climate change.”
I get his point but I also disagree with him because everybody in every country must do their bit to curb climate change. I think what he is saying works against this commonsense objective and it’s dangerous because it undermines people’s resolve to deal with climate change which is already weak. There is a clear lack of commitment from politicians to walk the walk as I mentioned in a previous post.
There’s far too much talk about curbing climate change and not enough action. Greta Thunberg, the well-known climate change activist, does something. She puts her life on the line. Tony Blair agrees that climate change is the biggest issue facing the world currently. Therefore, we have to do big and bold things to deal with it. What he is saying is undermining commitment. He is reducing the possibility of people doing big and bold things. I don’t like it.
In addition, putting the blame on China is all very well and good because they deserve to be blamed but they will not change course. Nothing that Tony Blair says is going to change the attitude of China where they still use coal-fired power stations to generate energy and plan to do so for decades ahead.
That coal, by the way, was or perhaps still is supplied by Australia. Australia contributes to climate change as well in a very big way which affects their climate which in turn damages flora and fauna conservation on their continent.