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Climate change

It’s folly to dump fossil fuels

David Attenborough with Boris Johnson at the G7 summit. Jeremy Selwyn/AFP/Getty Images

David Attenborough may be seen as an “infallible ecological pope” in the UK, says Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times. But when Boris trotted him out at the G7 to cajole world leaders into scrapping coal, the US and Japan refused. President Biden has “a little local difficulty” with coal: his party’s wafer-thin majority hinges on Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative Democrat from coal-producing West Virginia. After the summit in Cornwall, Manchin hammered home the point: “Fossil fuels, including coal, will be part of the global energy mix for decades to come.”

He’s right. Most of us still use fossil fuels all the time. And for all the grandstanding, no politician dares do the one thing guaranteed to cut emissions – raise fuel prices. When Emmanuel Macron tried, saying “We have no planet B”, he was ridiculed by the gilets jaunes: “The president talks about the end of the planet, but we worry about getting to the end of the week.” Swiss voters recently rejected new climate legislation, pointing out that their emissions are “completely insignificant” while China continues to boost its use of coal. China produces 27% of the world’s emissions, and that figure is rising. The UK accounts for less than 1%. All our efforts to rip out our gas boilers and buy electric cars may be “futile”, no matter what Attenborough tells us. 

Read the full article here (paywall).