Sky News – Discussing Al Gore’s new film on climate change “An Inconvenient Sequel” – 11 Aug 17

 

 

Sky news: With me now in the studio is Tom Burke, a former senior adviser to the foreign secretary’s special representative on climate change, and now the chairman of third generation environmentalism, which encourages sustainable development. First of all, Mr Burke, what do you make of this documentary?

Tom Burke: Well I think that there is both bad news and good news, the bad news is that the climate is changing faster, and its impacts are nastier, than we used to think. The good news is, that the things that we need to do to solve it, decarbonising our economy, using renewables and getting more efficient, all those costs are going through the floor. It is getting cheaper and cheaper to do what we need to do. What I think that Al Gore is doing is putting his finger on the nub of the problem, which is not the technology, we have lots of that, which is not the economics, we won’t wreck our economy by solving this problem. It is getting the politics right, and that’s what I think he is setting out to do which this film.

Sky News: So how exactly do we now put that into action?

Tom Burke: Well, his part in that, is to mobilise lots of people in the base of society, in order to put pressure on parliamentarians, representatives and politicians, from their own constituencies, to take this problem seriously. At the end of the day politician pay more attention to the people who vote particularly for them than others, and that’s what I think is unique about the approach that Gore is taking here, but then you’ve got to build on that with the thousands and thousands of organizations there are. But what has really changed in the last 4 or 5 years, is the extent to which business has begun to get in on the act, and discover the extent to which the risks to the climate are also risks to business. So what we saw on the same day as Trump pulled America out of the Paris Agreement, was we saw the world largest investment company vote against Exxon, because it wasn’t putting enough emphasis on climate risk to the profitability of the oil company.

Sky News: But surely, on the whole, President Trump is a big problem?

Tom Burke: There is no doubt at all that President Trump is a problem. He is a problem not because he can stop us doing what we are doing, but what Paris did was set us on the right road, but it didn’t take us far enough, and we are not going fast enough, And I think that Trump will slow down the acceleration that we make, and how we deploy the technologies we have to solve this problem.

Sky News: Al Gore said the climate movement has seen an incredible surge because people were worried by what President Trump said. So you do not agree with that?

Tom Burke: I agree with what Gore said, there has been this enormous surge because people are quite correctly scared by having somebody as erratic as Trump in the White House. But I think that his direct effect on the progress that we are making, the day after Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, 19 other nations at the G20 meeting, reaffirmed their commitment to going ahead, so he has no influence on other politicians, and in particular in the United States, he has no influence on business voices, and he had no influence on the states and cities that are going ahead with getting America to meet its commitments.

Sky News: What kind of situation are we in with climate change? What are we looking at 100 years from now?

Tom Burke: I think that if within 100 years we don’t solve this problem we won’t be having reasonable discussions on television shows like this. What people haven’t really grasped is the extent to which, if the climate changes at the current pace that it is, by the time we get to the end of the century, not even one hundred years away, we are going to be in a world that is full of conflict, in which a lot of the things that we take for granted, that make our economy work and keep us secure, all of those things will be put a risk. We are seeing already the effects of climate change in places like Africa, and part of south America, it is driving people of their lands as they become uninhabitable. We are seeing that effect now, not in huge numbers, but we go on changing the climate at the rate we are now, we are going to get more of that. We have already seen just how difficult it is if you get lots of people trying to move around on the planet. So you have problems like that, and problem with the fact that it will alter the amount of water that’s available to human beings, particularly in parts of Asia, for instance, where we will have real problems producing enough food for people to eat. All of those problem will get worse if we don’t deal with this problem.

Sky news:  But of course addressing the issue cost billions of pounds, when budgets are already stretched.

Tom burke: The private sector could address this issue, if the government sets the right kind of policy framework. You have to think that if you don’t solve this problem you will definitely wreck your economy. What we are seeing now is the more we move to a decarbonised economy the better it actually is for our economy, it is much more efficient, and we’ve got a whole range of new technologies generating new investment. So I‘m not worried about the fact that it will cost a lot. It will cost a lot to keep everybody supplied with energy however we do it.

Sky News: Tom Burke, thanks very much for your thoughts, we appreciate your time this evening.

 

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BBC Radio 5 Live – Government announces independent review of energy prices – 6 Aug 17

 

 

5 Live: The government has launched an independent review into the cost of energy, days after British Gas raised energy prices by twelve and a half percent. The study is being carried out by Oxford University professor Dieter Helm, and will look at how to meet climate change targets while keeping bills low. Tom Burke is the chairman of climate change think tank E3G, and a former government advisor, and joins us now. Thanks for joining us. So what is your reaction to this announcement?

Tom Burke: Well, it’s rather difficult to see, clever as I am sure Mr Helm is, what in three months, he is going to discover that we don’t already know. We are pretty clear about what we need to do if we want to combine those goals of keeping bills down and dealing with climate change, and that is invest a lot more in improving the overall energy efficiency of our buildings. And, the fact is, the government has been pretty weak at both putting in place the policies to do that, but also implementing the policies that is has already got. So, I’m really a bit puzzled about exactly what this is supposed to achieve, in an extremely short period of time.

5 Live: So, do you think it can have any ramifications for energy pricing going forwards?

Tom Burke: I doubt that it will tell us anything that we don’t already know. And it strikes me that this is a bit of a blame game going on, where the gas industry is blaming the government for its policies which are putting energy bills up, and the government is blaming the industry for not passing on the reductions in wholesale prices to customers. And actually, the reality is that we have got a massive amount of savings that are available out there, and if we did the right things and invested properly in infrastructure, we could make our bills go down permanently. So, I am a bit puzzled as to what, other than managing the headlines, this is really all about.

5 Live: So, what do you think the government should be doing?

Tom Burke: Well, what the government should really be doing is treating investment in the energy efficiency of our buildings as infrastructure, as part of the underlying infrastructure that we need to make the economy work effectively. And it needs to be investing in both making sure that all of the new homes that are built are zero carbon by around about 2020. It needs to make sure that people with very low incomes are given the ability to improve the energy efficiency of their homes right away with grant, essentially taking money out of the social service budget and putting it into investment in energy efficiency, to keep their bills down permanently. There are a whole array of other things that we have looked at over the years that could not only make our bills lower, but could make our climate better, and could also improve the efficiency of the economy. If you combine that with investing properly in renewables, then what you are offering consumers is the chance not only to get a lower bill through the front door, but possibly to also get a cheque through the front door as the sell electricity back to the grid.

5 Live: Couldn’t this all still happen once the review has been completed?

Tom Burke: I think it could happen, indeed the government announced a couple of weeks ago, a policy for smartening up the energy grid, that would take us in the right direction. I am just a bit puzzled as to what the added value will be, of doing this review instead of just getting on with it? Why carry out another study, when you know what to do and you can get on with it right away?

5 Live: Tom Burke, thank you very much.

 

 

 

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BBC News – What can the energy price review achieve? – 06 Aug 17

 

 

BBC News: The government has asked for and independent review of the energy market, just days after British Gas announced it is putting up its standard electricity price by twelve and a half percent. Theresa May did pledge to cap energy prices in the conservative manifesto, but the policy has been shelves since she lost her majority in the election. Well now the business secretary Greg Clark says the review will examine how price can be kept as low as possible while ensuring that the UK still meets its climate change targets

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BBC News: Tom Burke, who used to advise both labour and conservative governments on energy policy, says that there is not much that can be achieved in a three month time frame.

Tom Burke: I think that a review this short is essentially headline management. I don’t think Dieter, heroic though he is, is going to be able to come up with something that isn’t already widely discussed within the energy community. We know that the quickest and cheapest way to drive bills down is to improve the efficiency of our buildings.

 

 

 

BBC News: Let’s take you back now to the news of an independent review being launched into the cost of energy, being launched by the government just a few days after British Gas raised standard electricity prices by twelve and a half percent. The study which is supposed to be published in October will investigate how to keep price as low as possible while ensuring that the UK still meets climate change targets. I have been talking to Tom Burke, who is the Chairman of the independent climate think tank E3G, and asked him whether he thinks that this is a good idea?

Tom Burke: Well I welcome the idea of more information, but I doubt that it is going to come up with anything new. It’s a three month review, and Dieter Helm is a very well informed person, but it’s unlikely that he will be adding anything new to the equation that’s already there. What we know is that of you want to achieve your fuel poverty reduction goals, you want to achieve your climate goals, and you want to improve the efficiency of the economy, then what you most of all need to do is improve the energy efficiency of your building stock. It is the fastest, most reliable, and most secure way of driving bills down. And what’s more doing it permanently so they are not at the whim of policies or wholesale prices.

BBC News: Well, professor Helm, who is running this review, says that it will be independent and it will sort out the fact from the myths about the cost of energy.

Tom Burke: I am always troubled by someone who comes up with the line facts and myths, it tends to be they want you to use their facts, not your facts, and as we saw with Howard Davis and the airport commission, as we’ve seen with HS2, it’s very difficult to do that, especially difficult if you’ve got to do that in three months. These are highly contested areas, there’s an awful lot of opinions, very many different judgements about what the facts mean. And that’s what matters to consumers, not what the facts are, but what the facts mean for people in their daily lives.

BBC News: So, do you think that there is a link between the announcement of this review and the controversial price hike that we have from British Gas, putting up electricity prices by twelve and a half percent?

Tom Burke:  Yes, I think that there is a link in the sense that there is a blame game, the industry wants to blame the government, and the government wants to blame the industry, and the reality is that they are both at fault. The fact is that the utilities have not passed on the full benefit of falling energy prices, and government has failed to implement its building regulations as effectively as it could. There is, conservatively, about twenty five percent more savings we can get on our energy demand through efficient proper use of our building stock, and seeing it as infrastructure, and investing in it as if it was infrastructure.  We could get those savings, and that would drive down energy bills permanently, it would also improve the overall efficiency of the economy, as well as meeting our climate targets.

BBC News: We heard a lot during the election about the promise of a price cap on energy, what happened to that?

Tom Burke:  Well, it was interesting to hear that the government had suddenly adopted an Ed Miliband policy that they rubbished, and I think it was probably an attempt to manage the headlines, rather that really change the outcomes. This is not going to be brought about by tinkering in the margins of price policy. This is going to be brought about if the government decides to make this part of its infrastructure program, its industrial strategy if you like, and harnesses the energy in the cities to do this, and then drives it forward as a proper investment program.

 

 

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BBC News – Government launches an independent review into the cost of energy prices

 

 

BBC News: An independent review into the cost of energy is being launched by the government, just days after British Gas raised standard electricity prices by twelve and a half percent. The review will examine how prices can be kept as low as possible, while ensuring that the UK still meets climate change targets. Well let’s discuss this new review with Tom Burke, who is chairman of E3G, an independent climate change think tank. Thanks very much for being with us. So, a new energy bill review ordered, is it a good idea? do you welcome it?

Tom Burke: Well I welcome the idea of more information, but I doubt that it is going to come up with anything new. It’s a three month review, and Dieter Helm is a very well informed person, but it’s unlikely that he will be adding anything new to the equation that’s already there. What we know is that if you want to achieve your fuel poverty reduction goals, you want to achieve your climate goals, and you want to improve the efficiency of the economy, then what you most of all need to do is improve the energy efficiency of your building stock. It is the fastest, most reliable, and most secure way of driving bills down. And what’s more doing it permanently so they are not at the whim of policies or wholesale prices.

BBC News: Well, professor Helm, who is running this review, says that it will be independent and it will sort out the fact from the myths about the cost of energy.

Tom Burke: I am always troubled by someone who comes up with the line facts and myths, it tends to be they want you to use their facts, not your facts, and as we saw with Howard Davis and the airport commission, as we’ve seen with HS2, it’s very difficult to do that, especially difficult if you’ve got to do that in three months. These are highly contested areas, there’s an awful lot of opinions, very many different judgements about what the facts mean. And that’s what matters to consumers, not what the facts are, but what the facts mean for people in their daily lives.

BBC News: So, do you think that there is a link between the announcement of this review and the controversial price hike that we have from British Gas, putting up electricity prices by twelve and a half percent?

Tom Burke:  Yes, I think that there is a link in the sense that there is a blame game, the industry wants to blame the government, and the government wants to blame the industry, and the reality is that they are both at fault. The fact is that the utilities have not passed on the full benefit of falling energy prices, and government has failed to implement its building regulations as effectively as it could. There is, conservatively, about twenty five percent more savings we can get on our energy demand through efficient, proper, use of our building stock, and seeing it as infrastructure, and investing in it as if it was infrastructure.  We could get those savings, and that would drive down energy bills permanently, it would also improve the overall efficiency of the economy, as well as meeting our climate targets.

BBC News: We heard a lot during the election about the promise of a price cap on energy, what happened to that?

Tom Burke:  Well, it was interesting to hear that the government had suddenly adopted an Ed Miliband policy that they rubbished, and I think it was probably an attempt to manage the headlines, rather that really change the outcomes. This is not going to be brought about by tinkering in the margins of price policy. This is going to be brought about if the government decides to make this part of its infrastructure program, its industrial strategy if you like, and harnesses the energy in the cities to do this, and then drives it forward as a proper investment program.

BBC News: Tom Burke, many thanks very for being with us.

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Al Jazeera – Earth Overshoot Day marks unprecedented environmental damages – 2 Aug 17

 

 

Al Jazeera: I am joined now by Tom Burke, he is chairman of the environmental think tank E3G, and has advised a number of senior British politicians, thanks so much for being with us.

How surprising is it that we have reached this overshoot day as early as August this year?

Tom Burke: I don’t think that it’s a surprise, when I was born there were two and a half  billion people on the planet now there are close to eight billion, and we are all doing a lot more so we are putting increased pressure on the natural resource base of the economy, and what this is telling us is that in a sense we have run out our current account and we are starting to run up an overdraft, on maintaining the productivity of that natural resource base.

Al Jazeera: Why is that happening?

Tom Burke:  Just because there are so many of us making more demands. To have a decent life people need to have food security, water security, and energy security in particular, and the pressure of trying to provide that for so many people is squeezing the natural resource base of our economy. So, this is not only a problem for the environment this is now increasingly a problem for the economy, because most of our economy that is not provided by fossil fuels and fossil minerals is provided by those ecological systems

Al Jazeera: So what can we do about it, can we go into reverse gear and have or overshoot day take even longer to reach per year?

Tom Burke: It depends on which bit you are looking at, if you are looking at energy, I think we really could really do something pretty optimistic. We now have the technology we need to make use of the abundant energy from the sun. It’s a question of deploying the technology that we already have, and doing that fast enough, and that means we can maintain energy security for everybody. Water security is more difficult, because the world has got a lot of water, but a lot of it isn’t where the people are. What we have got to do is become much more efficient at using water, and much more interested in complicated solutions involving people, rather that simplistic engineering solution that simply shift the problem around. I think we can address the problem we have with water if we get cleverer with the way we use the knowledge that we already have. I think that there is a big problem, that is going to get bigger as the climate changes, is maintaining food security for everybody. And I think, for instance, agriculture is one of the reasons that we have a problem with water. We have to get much cleverer and invest much more in restoring the fertility of soils, we lose billions and billions of tones of soil every year, declining the productive base of or agriculture, because we don’t use the smarts systems that we actually know how to use, a lot of which are things that human being have been doing for years, just not doing them of a large enough scale, and making use of local knowledge about how to maintain the productivity of soils, which is the foundation for food security.

Al Jazeera: I feel a little less depressed than I did at the start. Tom Burke, thanks for that reassuring interview.

 

 

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Will the Government energy efficiency drive work? – Sky News

 

 

I think that this about the smartest thing that the government has done in energy policy in some time. It really does set Britain on the right trajectory for getting a low-carbon, affordable, secure electricity supply, that’s right for the twenty first century. It’s very good for consumers, it opens up the prospect that you won’t only get a bill through the door but you will also get a cheque. It’s very good for the climate because it makes it quicker and cheaper to meet our climate targets, and it’s also good for the economy as it means that we will be making much more efficient use of our generating capacity.

Two things are going to happen. Firstly, the cost of batteries are going down extraordinarily rapidly, they have gone down far faster than anybody thought they would go down and secondly you are going to find a lot of innovative financial measures to make that these options are available to ordinary consumers, provided that you’ve got the right regulatory structure, and that’s exactly what the government has set out today that it is going to do, so that the pricing will be fair when you sell your energy back to the grid not just when you pay for it. We are going to create a much more dynamic, flexible and efficient energy system, that will both drive down bills, but also off consumers the opportunity to make some money for themselves.

There will be some areas where you can’t have solar panels on your roof, it maybe in conservation areas or high-rise flats where the is multiple occupancy, but the vast majority of people in this country will see opportunities opening up for them, and in those other areas what you will see is a tremendous development of community schemes, that don’t necessarily involve you putting things on your roof, or in the case of high rise buildings on roofs you don’t have.

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Trump, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the G20 – BBC News

 

 

BBC News:  Theresa May has talked about the collective message she hopes will be delivered to Donald Trump on the Paris Climate Agreement. She thinks that it is possible that the US might change its mind, do you think that is the case?

Tom Burke: I don’t think that there is any chance that Trump will change his mind, they haven’t actually withdrawn, it’s going to take three years for them to do that in any case, but I think there is very little prospect, he has set his face against in, not just internationally but also in terms of domestic policy. What is really interesting to observe, is that actually most Americans don’t support him in doing that. Mrs May is right to stress the importance of the rest of the world coming together to give a clear message to Mr Trump, that if security is at the top of your agenda, and migration is at the top of your agenda, then you had better do something about climate change.

BBC News:   And views may remember the really impassioned statement that the host Angela Merkel released, when Trump announced America’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, and she talked about the importance of protecting Mother Earth. Now, she really wantS to get something done on this at this summit, doesn’t she?

Tom Burke: I think that is absolutely right, and I think actually it is quite a contrast, her reaction immediately when Trump made the announcement was very strong, and Mrs May’s announcement was very muted, you hardly heard her saying anything, and people noticed and commented on that. Which reflects the way in which, even at this summit, she is going to be marginalised, because people noticed that she didn’t rush to follow the lead of Mrs Merkel, she sort of hung back, and now she is trying to say all the right things, but they don’t have the same weight they would have had, if she had come out at the right time with such strength.

BBC News: So, what can we expect from this summit in terms of any statement on the Paris Climate Agreement? Will we see a reaffirmation of support from other countries, that will side line America, and side line Donald Trump?

Tom Burke: I think what is really important to look for coming out of this, is whether any of the other countries try to some how trem in behind Trump, and use Trump as a kind of shield. If you have 19 countries at the summit all lining up behind Merkel, and Mr Trump on his own, you have a reaffirmation. If you begin to see other countries tremming in behind Trump, then you need to start to worry a bit about whether the Trump intervention had started to weaken the global commitment.

BBC News:  If it is the other countries lined up behind Merkel then I can’t see how the diplomats could put a gloss on this, it would be a very clear message to him that they are deeply unhappy with what he is doing, but then they don’t particularly care about causing him offense on that subject do they?

Tom Burke: I was going to say, I’m not sure that anybody in the real world is that bothered, on this issue, about what Trump has to say. If you look at what happened on the same day that he made the announcement about withdrawing from Paris, BlackRock, the biggest investment company in the world, voted against the board of Exxon, because they weren’t coming forward to set out what their climate risks are. So the world’s major investors, take this problem as real, and something that has to be dealt with urgently. Just two days ago we had Volvo coming out and saying that they are not going to build any more internal combustion engine vehicles after 2020. You are seeing the rest of the world move on. So I’m not sure that in the real economy anybody is paying attention to what Trump says, or what he does, and if that results in the American economy not being able to take the opportunities of building a low-carbon economy, frankly, the rest of the world, especially the Chinese, the Indians, and of course the Europeans, are going to be perfectly happy about that.

 

 

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Trump confirms that he is pulling America out of the Paris Climate Agreement – Al Jareera

 

 

Al Jazeera: With me in the studio is Tom Burke who is Chairman of the climate think tank E3G… In making this decision President Trump has gone against his Secretary of State, his defence Secretary and his National Security Adviser, so what are the implications there in terms of national security and geopolitics?

Tom Burke: That makes me much more worried about the future of geopolitics than it does about the future of the climate. Withdrawal from Paris will not have very big impact on what other countries are doing to get carbon emissions down, but the fact that the President of the United States has basically rejected the advice of his most senior and most important advisers on international affairs and the most respected of all the appointments that he has made. He is also rejecting all of the advice and urgings of all of Americas traditional allies. It just seems to me that is a really worrying sign about what kind of America we are going to see in future. And it does reflect a real victory of Steve Bannon and the really nationalist, return to the first half of the 20th century, politics that he has been preaching, and people should be quite worried about that.

Al Jazeera: There are concerns that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world right now, and America is the second largest carbon polluter, and it’s promise to cut emissions made up a significant portion of the overall agreement. What tangible impact will there be in terms of the strength of this agreement, and a possible domino effect on the behaviour of other countries?

Tom Burke: I think for other countries, it just leaves even more open the opportunity for building a low-carbon economy. It will encourage India, China and a lot of the countries that he was complaining about to get on with simply taking advantage of the space left in global markets for new technologies.

Al Jazeera:  In other words you have a very flourishing industry in solar power in China, if anything they are going to continue with that investment and then branch out into other areas of renewable energy.

Tom Burke: Yeah, and frankly they will be doing it with a lot of American money, private money from the America who sees where the opportunity is. What’s completely incomprehensible is the complete repudiation by a republican president of the signals that markets are giving him. We have just seen the board of Exxon told that it has to examine its climate risks, by the most significant voters in the HEM were BlackRock and the other big multinational financing firms, because they have begun to understand how serious these risks are to being able to make money. So, you have a republican president somehow trying to say that markets are wrong.

Al Jazeera:  Following on from that logic, there is nothing to worry about because markets, and the private sector, and businesses will ultimately dictate where the money goes, and it will stay in renewables and electric cars, and coal won’t be coming back any time soon.

Tom Burke: I wouldn’t say that there is nothing to worry about, because I think this slows down the pace at which we could go, but I don’t think that Mr Trump is going to find anybody interested in having another negotiation.

Al Jazeera:  I guess the central contradiction in all of this is the fact that he is pulling out of the deal, it’s a very bad deal, we are withdrawing and reasserting control over our own climate policy, but at the same time we want to re-negotiate a deal with nearly 200 countries.

Tom Burke: That’s the kind of thing that might make sense on a reality TV show but doesn’t make any sense in the real world. It assumes that all the other nations weren’t doing what they are doing because they had a real national interest in doing it, and the idea that they are now all about to say we were wrong all along and you were right, so we will join in, it is fantasy land.

Al Jazeera:  And we have been looking at some of the reactions that have been coming in, and we had already heard a sense of frustration from Brussels and from the G7 summit, Jean Claud Junker saying that it is going to take them years to pull out, Angela Merkel at the G7 summit pleading with Trump to stay in the Agreement, and city Mayors saying that it’s not going to affect anything that we do, in fact if anything it will galvanise them. Do you think that this could breathe new life into the Paris Accord rather than weaken it?

Tom Burke: I think that’s absolutely right, I think when you get this type of arbitrary and completely inexplicable intervention, what it tends to do is push other people together, rather like Margaret Thatcher did in British politics. By being very aggressive she made her opposition more united than it was, so I think that we will see some of that as we go forward. I think that tomorrow we are going to see a really striking agreement between the EU and China, so this will push the EU and China closer together, and from what I have seen from the draft texts that have leaked out, it is going to be really rather remarkable and very strong, and an immediate response in the real world to Mr Trump.

Al Jazeera:  Tom Burke, head of the climate think tank E3G, thanks you very, much for coming in and sharing your opinion and expertise with us.

 

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What impact will it have if Trump does pull out of the Paris Climate Deal? – Al Jazeera

 

 

Al Jazeera: Joining me now in the studio is Tom Burke, who is the chairman of the climate think tank E3G. So, we are awaiting and announcement from President Donald Trump, but reports suggest that he will indeed pull the US out of the Climate Change Deal. What impact to you think this will have on the agreement itself?

Tom Burke: On the deal itself, I think that it will slow things down a bit. What Paris did was put us on the right road to deal with climate change, but as was recognised at the time, it wasn’t going to take us far enough or fast enough, so it built in a mechanism for increasing its ambition every five years or so. I think Trump pulling out will slow down that acceleration that we need. But it won’t stop it, and as all the commentators have been saying, the fact that he pulls out, won’t change what is happening in the real economy, where the world had already started to make the transition to a low-carbon economy. Paris was one of the big initiators of that, so now you are seeing most of the investment in energy around the world, is going into renewables, is going into electric vehicles, and developing the low-carbon economy.

Al Jazeera:  Why then is there so much concern, because there is this agrument is that you can’t control what the private sector does, you can’t control what businesses invest in, you can’t control what options consumers will pick for their source of energy, and you do have electric cars and renewable sources of energy becoming more attractive, as prices go down, but if all that is the case then why is there so much concern about Trump doing this? Why is it so significant?

Tom Burke: Well, nobody can understand why, for all the reasons that you have just said, why Trump wants to do this, it is not in America’s interest to do it economically , and it is not in America’s interest to do it geopolitically. There is going to be quite a price to be paid for repudiating and agreement that everybody else in the world apart from Syria and Nicaragua has signed up to. He has just blown in the face of America’s most traditional allies, and said I don’t care what you think is important, I am going to go my own way, now if there was some reason for it, that people could make sense of, then people might be prepared to accommodate him. But just doing it in this arbitrary and in explicable way leaves everybody baffled about what exactly he is trying to accomplish? And where else will he be just as unpredictable.

Al Jazeera:  Well I suppose that the argument it that the restrictions and regulations that come with signing up to a deal like this, and other policies that the US currently has in place, are not good for the American economy and that they are hurting jobs, and that actually this will help, and this sends a very powerful signal, not just on the international stage, but also to businesses within the US that it would be worth investing in other industries in order to generate jobs in other areas.

Tom Burke: Well, his own most senior economic adviser has already publicly said, that pulling out of the Paris Agreement won’t help the coal industry. If you look at just simple numbers, there are fifty thousand coal miners in the United States, there are a quarter of a million people who are working in the solar industry alone. The markets have already made their minds up, what is extraordinary is to see a conservative president ignoring the clear signals that are coming from the market, about where the balance of economic advantage lies.

Al Jazeera:  Why is he such a cheerleader for the coal industry, he says “coal is a beautiful thing”, why does he say that?

Tom Burke: I can’t explain that any more than I can explain many other aspects of Mr Trumps behaviour, he is not something that we have ever seen before. He seems to me to be very ignorant about both energy policy and climate policy. He seems to live in an alternative reality, where things will happen just because he wishes them, now I can’t explain why he is like that, any more than I can explain why the American people voted for him.

Al Jazeera: Alright, Tom Burke, for now, thank you very much.

 

 

 

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What happens if Trump pulls out of the Paris Agreement – BBC News

 

 

The Paris Agreement took us on to the right road, but it didn’t go far enough or fast enough in order to solve the problem. So Trump pulling out of the Paris Agreement would slow down that process of getting up to speed, and getting there fast enough to tackle the problem.

 

 

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