By Ed King
The UK government’s leading independent climate advisor says the fossil fuel lobby and industrial groups are investing heavily in blocking climate action around the world.
Lord Deben, who heads the UK’s influential Committee on Climate Change, said he is concerned by the level of influence certain groups had, especially in Washington.
And he says lawmakers and politicians need to be more confident in making the case for a greener economy.
“There are a lot of people around the world who are trying to stop us doing anything about climate change,” Deben told RTCC.
“They are very well funded by some pretty unpleasant organisations who because of their connections with industrial businesses, particularly I’m afraid to say in the United States, they don’t want us to fight climate change because it’s not good business for them.”
Speaking at the Globe summit for leading climate lawmakers in London, the former MP reserved particular criticism for politicians who refuse to look further than their next election.
Deben is currently pushing back against a recent UK government decision to build 30 new gas-fired power stations to replace the UK’s ageing coal, nuclear and gas stations.
His Committee have warned this could lead to the UK breaking its laws on cutting carbon emissions, although the government says it is also investing heavily in renewable energy.
“Populist press and populist politicians cannot get out of the thought that there are a few quick cheap votes to get by promising people an easier time rather than having to deal with long term decisions,” he said.
“It isn’t the easy answer to ignore climate change. To ignore climate change is the stupid policy.
“It means your economy is less able to handle the problems of the future even if climate change were not happening even if most climate scientists in the world had it wrapped round their neck.”
Deben was speaking at the launch of the Globe Climate Legislation Study, a review of energy and climate laws in 33 countries accounting for 85% of global emissions. Of those 18 made “significant” progress in 2012.