What have the Extinction Rebellion protests achieved? – LBC – 20 APR 19

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This is a transcript of an interview I did for LBC with Matt Frei, discussing what has been achieved by the Extinction Rebellion protests.

These protests have already achieved something, which is to change the public conversation. They have transformed it. The protests have made a real difference to the conversation, and conversations are really important. Money makes the world go round, and when you ask what makes the money go round? It is conversation. And if you want the money to go round differently you have to have a different conversation.

We have got a very big opera here, there are many different parts for people to play in it, and this is one very important part, of how we turn around what we are actually doing about climate change, which is far too little.

We have had a complete failure of the political class to take the issue seriously, to work out different political solutions and approaches to it. For a considerable length of time, a part of the political class has been denying that there is a problem at all. People respond to a lead. If they are not given a lead by our political leaders, you can’t be surprised when they don’t respond very well.

I think all the real problems about making the changes we need to make are political problems. We have the technology that we need to address this problem now, and we are going to have a lot more in the future. We know that we won’t ruin the economy; we might actually make the economy a lot better. But we really will change the pattern of winners and losers, and we will have to change it very fast, and very dramatically, and that is very scary to politicians.

Right now to make a difference the first, most important, cheapest, quickest thing we could do to deal with climate change, is to bring all our buildings in this country up to energy efficiency rating (EPC) A or B. We could do that very quickly. We would drive down energy bills for people. We would reduce the burden of fuel poverty on the health service, as well as dealing with climate change. We could do something like this right away; there is no need to wait until 2025 to make all future houses completely carbon neutral, we should start doing that right now.

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