I am definitely looking forward COP26. I am both looking forward to getting a good result, and I am looking forward to being over. It has been pretty much at the centre of my life for the whole of this year, so I’ll be glad when we are done. COP1 to COP25 achieved an enormous amount, and I think we will continue to make progress. Will we make enough progress? No, I don’t think we will. We won’t make enough progress because the problem we have got is really serious, and frankly, our politicians are not taking it seriously enough.
I am being very specific when I say that. I said our politicians are not taking it seriously enough. I didn’t say the public is not taking it seriously. I do think that the public are taking it very seriously. I think all the experience that we have seen around the world in the last two years of fires, and floods, and droughts have validated the science in the public eye. I just don’t think that politicians are stepping up to the plate. They are talking a lot about it. They are just not spending enough money and doing enough about it. Our lives will have to change. We will certainly get a lot poorer if we don’t deal with the problem. How much will it cost us? I don’t know. We know what we have got to do. What we do know is, the quicker we do it, the cheaper it will be. We will discover as we did with renewables, the more you do it and the faster you do it the lower the cost becomes.
We can do whatever it takes if we organise ourselves properly. We have got to think about the skills and certifications we need. We need to be clear about it. We can’t keep chopping and changing policy like we have done in the past. In India, for instance, it is now far cheaper, in a country where it is dispersed and has weak infrastructure like India, it is far cheaper to rely on renewables, solar and wind, than is to try and build centralised coal fired power stations. But you have got the same problem, the fact that something can be done, doesn’t mean that politicians are up for doing it. Quite often because you have to deal with entrenched interests in order to do it. The same will be true in China.
China should do what we should have done before we got into trouble because governments messed things up. We messed it up. We’re not short of the gas anywhere in the world, we messed up the way in which we organise our electricity and our energy system, so we ended up with the crisis that we have got now. It is a temporary crisis. China has exactly the same problem of a temporary crisis of a temporary crisis because there is a government that makes mistakes and doesn’t correct them very fast.
These are excepts from an interview for LBC. The full discussion can be heard here: