The proposals will also fail to bring in a 2025 flaring ban for oil and gas firms despite it being one of the 130 recommendations made by Tory MP Chris Skidmore earlier this year.
There will be no office for net zero – also one of Skidmore’s calls – and no compulsion for solar panels on new housing. Plans for a UK-wide programme of home insultation improvements, campaigned for by groups like Insulate Britain, will not be included.
[and the BS continues … an expansion of oil and gas destroying the planet spun as it’s exact opposite.]
More than 120 lawyers [actually barristers] have vowed to not act against activists from groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil who are “exercising their democratic right of peaceful protest”.
They have published a “Declaration of Conscience”, and face the prospect of disciplinary action.
The chair of the Bar Council Nick Vineall KC said it was “disappointing”.
They have called upon the government and their colleagues to “act urgently to do whatever they can to address the causes and consequences of the climate and ecological crises and to advance a just transition to sustainability”.
They now face the prospect of disciplinary action for breaching professional regulations such as the so-called ‘cab rank rule’, which requires lawyers to take on any case within their competence.
The Labour party in Leicester has been left reeling after 19 sitting councillors, the majority of them from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, were deselected by the national committee.
About 40% of Labour’s councillors in the city have been told they cannot stand in May’s election, after party figures decided to appoint an NEC board to choose Leicester’s council candidates rather than leave the decision to local members.
There is particular anger over the fact the majority of deselected councillors are from BAME backgrounds, in a city where the 2021 census revealed 59% of residents are from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Fifteen of the party’s 26 BAME councillors in Leicester have been told they cannot stand, a total of 58%, compared with four of the 22 white Labour councillors.
Elected representatives told they can’t meet with barrister commissioned to investigate leaked Labour report – who has said party is not tackling racism and treats other forms as less important than supposed antisemitism
Labour has tried to claim that its national executive (NEC) is engaging with the report and to persuade us that everything is in hand as it should be, with the unsurprising collusion of right-wing NEC members. But the nonsense of this claim has been exposed by one of the elected left-wing members still on the NEC, who revealed that the NEC members supposed to be addressing Forde’s report and his recommendations has been blocked from meeting him:
Black Labour MP Dawn Butler confirmed that this refusal to allow a meeting has nothing to do with Forde’s availability or willingness to meet:
The Starmer regime’s whitewash of the deep-rooted and unchecked racism of its faction continues – eagerly aided and abetted by its media allies, who have resolutely ignored every revelation of the Labour right’s racism, war on democracy and the sabotage of the Corbyn leadership, despite the recent and detailed ‘Labour Files’ documentary series by Al Jazeera.
OPINION: Instead of launching a war, the US and UK could have weaned us off the fossil fuels that pay for the brutal regimes of dictators
Twenty years ago today, [20 March] war was once again unleashed on Baghdad. In the UK – and much of the rest of the world – people sat in front of their TVs watching the skies above the ancient city flash with flame as buildings were rendered to rubble, the limbs and lives inside crushed.
The real victims of George Bush and Tony Blair’s shock and awe were, of course, the people of Iraq. Estimates of violent deaths range from a hundred thousand to a million. That doesn’t include the arms and legs that were lost, the families devastated, the melted minds and broken souls, trauma that will shatter down generations. It doesn’t include anyone killed in the conflict since then: there are still British and US troops in the country. It doesn’t include the poverty resulting from crushed infrastructure, the hopes abandoned and the potential immolated.
And that’s just the 2003 war: Britain has bombed Iraq in seven of the last 11 decades.
But in far gentler ways, the war was to shape the lives of those watching through their TVs, too. The invasion of Iraq – along with the other post-9/11 wars – was a road our governments chose irrevocably to drive us down. And we, too, have been changed by the journey.
The financial cost of the Iraq war to the US government, up to 2020, is estimated at $2trn. The post-9/11 wars together cost the US around $8trn, a quarter of its debt of $31trn. Much of the money was borrowed from foreign governments, in a debt boom which, some economists have argued, played a key role in the 2008 crash.
It was in this period, in particular, that China bought up billions of dollars of US government debt. Just before Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Beijing had overtaken Tokyo as the world’s largest holder of US Treasury bonds. Today, America’s neoconservatives are obsessed with China’s power over the US. What they rarely mention is that this was delivered by their wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Britain’s financial contribution was more meagre – in 2015 the UK government estimated it had spent £8.1bn on the invasion of Iraq, and around £21bn on Afghanistan. But these are hardly figures to be sniffed at.
Also significant, in both cases, is where this money went: the Iraq war saw a revolution in the outsourcing of violence. In 2003, when the war began, the UK foreign office spent £12.6m on private security firms. By 2015, just one contract – paying G4S to guard Britain’s embassy in Afghanistan – was worth £100m.
Over the course of the wars, the UK became the world centre for private military contractors – or, to use the old fashioned word, mercenaries. While many of these are private army units, others offer more specialist skills: retired senior British spooks now offer intelligence advice to central-Asian dictators and, as we found out with Cambridge Analytica during the Brexit vote, psychological operations teams who honed their skills in Iraq soon realised how much money they could make trialling their wares on the domestic population.
This vast expansion of the military industrial complex in both the US and UK hasn’t just done direct damage to our politics and economy – affecting the living standards of hundreds of millions of people across the world. It has also distorted our society, steered investment into militarised technology when research is desperately needed to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
Similarly, the war changed British politics. First, and perhaps most profoundly, because it was waged on a lie, perhaps the most notorious lie in modern Britain, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Acres of text have been written about the rapid decline in public trust in politicians in the UK in recent years. Very few grapple with the basic point – that, within the memory of most voters, a prime minister looked us in the eye, and told us that he had to lead us into war, based on a threat that turned out to be fictional. There are lots of reasons people increasingly don’t trust politicians – and therefore trust democracy less and less. But the Iraq war is a long way up the list.
Obama – who had opposed the war – managed to rally some of that breakdown of trust into a positive movement (whatever you think of his presidency, the movement behind it was positive). So did the SNP in Scotland.
But often, it went the other way. If the war hadn’t happened, would Cleggmania have swung the 2010 election from Gordon Brown to David Cameron? Probably not. And this, of course, led to the second great lie of modern British politics, the one about tuition fees and austerity.
Without the invasion, would Donald Trump have won in 2016? Would Brexit have happened?
There is a generation of us – now approaching our 40s – who were coming into political consciousness as Iraq was bombed. Many of us marched against the war, many more were horrified by it. The generation before us – Gen X – were amazingly unpolitical. Coming of age in the 1990s, at the end of history, very few got involved in social movements or joined political parties.
When I was involved in student politics in the years following Bush and Blair’s invasion, student unions across the UK were smashing turnout records. Soon, those enraged by the war found Make Poverty History, the climate crisis, the financial crisis and austerity. A generation of political organisers grew up through climate camps and Occupy and became a leading force behind Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, helping organise a magnificent younger cohort of Gen-Zers which arrived after us.
But I shouldn’t end on a positive note. The disaster predicted by the millions across the world who marched against the war has played out. Hundreds of thousands have died. The Middle East continues to be dominated by dictators.
This war was justified on the grounds that Saddam was a threat to the world. But while his weapons of mass destruction were invented, scientists were already warning us about a very real risk; already telling us that we had a few short decades to address the climate crisis.
Rather than launching a war that would give the West access to some of the world’s largest oil reserves, the US and UK could have channelled their vast resources into weaning us off the fossil fuels that pay for the brutal regimes of dictators. Instead, we incinerated that money, and the world, with it.
Extinction Rebellion has been taking on the tabloid media this morning in a series of actions calling out their blatant suppression of crucial news on the climate and ecological crisis. In London, three people met The Sun’s political investigative reporter Amir Razavi in a sting operation, where they posed as whistleblowers there to provide him with top secret information. The group questioned Razavi about his climate ethics, asking him to explain his newspaper’s 30-year campaign of climate lies and misinformation.
The Extinction Rebellion citizen journalists took the rare opportunity to ask why The Sun continues to withhold, deny and downgrade vital information on the scale of the climate crisis and its root causes, just days after Antonio Guterres likened the latest IPCC report to a “survival guide for humanity”.
While this was happening, at the headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK at London Bridge, the Telegraph HQ in Victoria and the offices of the Daily Mail in Kensington, several people spray painted the buildings with green washable paint using fire extinguishers. A large banner with the words ‘CORRUPT AS FUCK’ was attached to multiple helium filled balloons at News UK and was floated up in front of the office windows on higher floors to highlight the destructive influence of media moguls such as Rupert Murdoch on democracy.
Steve Tooze of Extinction Rebellion and former Sun and Daily Mail journalist, said: “The mainstream media has a major role to play in delivering the truth to the general public about the climate and ecological emergency. They could and should be helping all of us come together around the clear need for change and providing people with the facts so we can work out how to transition away from fossil fuels and build a future that is safer, fairer, better for everyone. Instead, their business model thrives on division and click bait culture that sets people against one another. The reality is, the billionaire owned media uses this strategy to uphold the status quo so that those with power can hold on tightly to that power.
“Extinction Rebellion is saying we’re not going to accept this anymore. People need to set aside their differences and come together if we’re going to stave off the worst of the climate crisis and build a better society, so we’re inviting everyone to join us at Parliament from 21st April to start creating the change we need. The mainstream press has a responsibility to help people find a way to achieve this rather than profiting from our division.”
Climate solutions are readily available, as outlined in the IPCC report. What is lacking is media reporting and government support, with the Telegraph suggesting for example that Monday’s IPCC report was “nothing but confected hysteria” and the The Daily Mail accused the authors of using “hysterical language”. The Sun devoted less than half a column on page two to the report. The Daily Mail has repeatedly published misleading or outright false information on the climate crisis. The Telegraph platforms and emboldens known climate deniers, and none of our national papers give this crisis the attention appropriate to the scale of the emergency.
Anna, a photographer from London who took part in the action, said:“I am taking this action to highlight the Daily Mail’s inadequate response to the climate and ecological crises. From editorials calling for an end to net zero policies, to their support of fracking, the Mail makes itself an enemy of our planet and the humans who depend on it. The news shapes our minds, and without honest reporting we risk sleepwalking into an unnecessarily difficult future.”
Tom Masters, Civil Servant from Bristol, said: “Extinction Rebellion demands that people tell the truth about the climate emergency. This shouldn’t be too much to ask of a national newspaper that exerts significant influence over its readership and over the British government.
The Telegraph has been described as ‘Fleet Street’s last dinosaur of climate change denial’ by climate science expert Dr Bob Ward, and with good reason. Only this week they downplayed the severity of the IPCC report and labelled it as hysterical. I undertook today’s action to highlight the irresponsibility of mainstream press and their unwillingness to do their job and tell people the truth and hold power to account for their inaction.”
These actions are just 30 days before thousands will descend on Parliament for four days for The Big One. On Monday this week, dozens of major NGOs, trade unions, justice movements and more made their commitment to stand with Extinction Rebellion in April to face the intersecting crises of climate breakdown, the cost of living, attacks on democracy, and the shredding of essential public services, together.
The latest IPCC climate report published yesterday at about 4pm [ed about 12 or 1pm] UK time is banished from the news – there’s not a mention of it this morning. It’s because it says that we have to just stop oil and gas expansion, we have to switch to alternative sources of energy now, that rich countries and energy companies have to dig into their pockets…
The choice in the new IPCC report is stark: what we do in the next few years will determine our fate for millennia
After a 10,000-year journey, human civilisation has reached a climate crossroads: what we do in the next few years will determine our fate for millennia.
That choice is laid bare in the landmark report published on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), assembled by the world’s foremost climate experts and approved by all the world’s governments. The next update will be around 2030 – by that time the most critical choices will have been made.
The report is clear what is at stake – everything: “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
“Continued emissions will further affect all major climate system components, and many changes will be irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales,” it says. To follow the path of least suffering – limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C – greenhouse gas emissions must peak “at the latest before 2025”, the report says, followed by “deep global reductions”. Yet in 2022, global emissions rose again to set a new record.
NHS Workers Say No and Public and Commercial Services Union, one of the UK’s largest, among dozens of groups forming alliance with climate movement
NHS workers, trade unionists, anti-racism campaigners and climate activists will stand together in their thousands next month to protest the UK government’s apathetic and failed response to tackle interlocking crises, The Independent can reveal today.
On Monday, the event received a major boost after dozens of groups, representing a diverse cross-section of society and interests, confirmed their participation.
XR said it would focus on “attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks” to call for the UK government to adequately address a multitude of interwoven crises – climate change, the cost of living, attacks on democratic norms, and the shredding of essential public services.