Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Posts Tagged ‘global warming’

Donald Trump out on a Limb

Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 2nd June, 2017

Trump climate changeLast night the US President confirmed Europe’s worst fears, by announcing that he is withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on climate change. He is on record as saying that he doesn’t really believe in global warming, and although his pledge to give coal-mining a boost went down well in certain areas of the country during his election campaign the potential impact on the global climate is serious. It is encouraging that not only the European Union but also Russia and China have reaffirmed their support for the Paris Agreement, though sadly Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May — keen to enhance her status as Mr Trump’s best foreign friend as Brexit looms — reportedly commented that the US President is free to do as he likes. Whereas that is factually correct, it is politically inept. Britain should not be seen to be aligning itself with a climate change denier at this crucial moment in history. Many world leaders, including former President Barack Obama, have cited climate change as possibly the biggest threat facing humankind, which is why it is so important that countries around the world limit their emissions and take other measures to slow and ideally reverse the trend of global warming. It was a great victory for common sense when China came on board. Now Donald Trump has taken the United States in the opposite direction. I suspect he rather enjoys being out on a limb, such is his monstrous ego. But those who go out on a limb run the risk of someone cutting off the branch on which they are sitting, and for the planet’s sake, I hope that is what will happen before too long.


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Ed Davey, the EU and Climate Change

Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 16th June, 2013

Ed Daveyclimate changeThe European Union has been leading the way in the global fight against climate change, not least thanks to the efforts of Liberal Democrat Ministers in the UK’s Coalition government, Chris Huhne and now Ed Davey. The latter was guest speaker at Merton Liberal Democrats’ summer garden party in Wimbledon this afternoon and restated his determination that the Paris summit in 2015 must seal a meaningful new treaty, to build on achievements so far. There are some member states that are dragging their feet — notably Poland, which still relies heavily on coal for its energy needs. But the UK is part of a group of 10 EU member states — dubbed the Green Growth Group — which are on the side of the angels in the related debate. Moreover, Ed has been buoyed by the appointment of John Kerry as Barack Obama’s Secretary of State in his second term, as Kerry was ahead of Al Gore in recognising the problems of global warming. Even China is sending out some reassuring signals. The problems of air and water pollution in China are immense, as a result of the country’s rapid industrialisation and relatively lax environmental supervisory standards. But public opinion in China has become increasingly vociferous about the health consequences for children — all the more acute give China’s ongoing (though modified) one child policy. Accordingly, the Chinese Communist Party has started to take note of ecological protests, instead of just suppressing them, as it realises that its survival in government may be at stake. Back home in the UK, it is the Liberal Democrats who have been keeping the Coalition government on track on climate change issues, despite the scepticism of certain Tory right-wingers. In next year’s European elections (which in London will coincide with all-out borough council elections) the LibDems must champion this success. Furthermore, Ed argued, we should not hold back in attacking UKIP, which is not only the home of many climate change deniers but also tries through its lies and distortions to undermine European cooperation with all its beneficial aspects for our common future. and

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A European Destiny on Climate Change?

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 13th November, 2008

The EU could be far more ambitious in leading the world in action on climate change, according to Dr Michaele Schreyer, former European Budget Commissioner and now teaching at Berlin’s Free University. Speaking at a high-level seminar on ‘Building the Low Carbon Future’ held at the London¬†branch of Deutsche Bank in the City this evening, she argued the case for a European Community for Renewable Energy. A German Green Party member who says that the British LibDems are doing great things in the European Parliament, she declared that Europe should be able to¬†satisfy all of its domestic energy demand from its own renewable energy generation. Her passion was matched by another¬†articulate panelist, the Nicaraguan-born¬†activist Bianca Jagger, Chair of the World Future Council, who warned that oil addiction is a problem for all of us, as we sit on the brink of¬†a global catastrophe.

The British government’s chief scientific advisor, Professor John Beddington, urged that energy matters be considered in tandem with food and water security issues and he highlighted the fact that 130 major port cities around the world are at risk of a mega-disaster because of sea-surges and other natural phenomena exacerbated by global warming. Recently, cities accounted for half of the world’s population for the first time in human history, and the growth of cities is continuing relentlessly, especially in the developing world. As¬†other members of the panel (which included the distinguished Australia-based German architect Albert Speer and was wittily chaired by my old fellow Reuters trainee David Marsh, of London and Oxford Capital Markets) agreed, cities are currently a big part of the problem of climate change, but have to be redesigned to become part of the solution.

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