Are Alok Sharma’s calls to abandon coal simply a fantasy?

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Wednesday 09 June 2021 18:34
<p>Sharma will lead November’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow</p>

Sharma will lead November’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow

Asia and Africa are determined to use coal as the basis of their drive for prosperity. While America and Russia continue to feed the growing global appetite for the fossil fuel, surely the end of coal is nowhere near?

In fact, we may well witness a renewed global demand. Alok Sharma may be in charge of the UN’s green jolly in Glasgow but his pompous demand that aspirational Asia bins its coal plans make Cop26 look out of touch.

Energy demand indicates his call to abandon coal is simply fantasy. China funds the majority of all new coal plants being built globally while the 60 new coal plants planned across Eurasia, South America and Africa are reportedly financed exclusively by Chinese banks.

With its “belt and road initiative”, China works with numerous countries with fossil fuel technology. Many are developing nations relying on its help, as the UK and so many other advanced countries start to cut their aid budgets.

The Scientific American reports that most of Africa is without any form of renewable energy so coal, oil and natural gas are vital.

Nations such as Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam are not in a position to trifle with the Heath Robinson devices promoted by our bien pensant.

Criticism of western arrogance is on the rise and may be the memory most have of Glasgow's UN climate summit.

Dr John Cameron

St Andrews

Trade arrangements

Lord Frost, the Brexit negotiator, tries to claim that the government was not quite clear about the results of the arrangements for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

On the other hand, Lord Barwell, who was Theresa May’s chief of staff, says that it would have been impossible for them not to understand the implications, and that it was always the intention to wriggle out of the agreement.

It would therefore appear that Johnson and co are either incompetent or duplicitous. Is any other explanation possible?

Susan Alexander

South Gloucestershire

Settlement deadline

I welcomed your recent article on calls for the EU settlement deadline to be lifted to avoid devastating consequences. It reported on the letter to Boris Johnson from charitable organisations demanding the government extend the 30 June application deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) and make clear what constitutes reasonable grounds for late applications. 

To my mind, it is not only that the government needs to turn to their own practices, and urgently extend the deadline. But it also needs to appeal to the EU to reciprocate. Four EU member states have a 30 June deadline for applications from British citizens to register their residence under the provisions of the withdrawal agreement – France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Malta.

The statistics released by the Specialised Committee on Citizens’ Rights make clear an alarming shortfall in the number of applications that should alone be grounds for an extension. In France, which hosts the second largest population of British citizens in the EU it looks as though there may be thousands of British citizens who still haven’t applied. This deadline needs to be urgently extended to prevent people from falling between the gaps with devastating consequences for their lives, access to services and rights. 

Just as in the case of the EUSS, those applications outstanding are likely from the most vulnerable within this population of British citizens – among them the homeless, children and others in care, the disabled and those with mental capacity problems, and those with long-term health conditions.

All too often, reporting on citizens’ rights has overlooked the other side of the coin: the fallout of Brexit for British citizens living in the EU. With the 30 June deadline fast approaching, time is running out. 

Professor Michaela Benson


National anthem

In this age of genetic science, racism is not only repugnant, but it is also risible and absurd, more so if hurled by some clearly envious football hooligans at footballers who, regardless of colour, size and shape, represent the modern embodiment of the superhuman. Still, I cannot see the universal relevance of “taking the knee” to object to racism. 

The American athletes who invented the custom probably meant to expose the hypocrisy of those compatriots who sang their national anthem’s promise of “the land of the free” and practised racial prejudice. But should British sportsmen denounce racism by denying the Queen a few quaint words of blessing?

Hamid Elyassi


Never-ending cakeism

So, Lord Frost wants the EU to accept that our food standards are and will remain equivalent to theirs.

But he is unwilling to sign up to dynamic alignment because he wants the flexibility to diverge from them in order to cut a US trade deal, with lower standards.

The cakeism never ends. And as for George Eustice’s comparison of selling Texan sausages in California – both states are inside the union as I understand and subject to FDA rules for interstate trade.

Do they think we can’t see through their stupid posturing?  

Rachael Padman


Christian aid

Despite being a Brexiteer, I do feel that the government has a duty, especially in hard times, to restore the international aid budget to at least 0.7 per cent.

Theresa May and her team of rebels are absolutely right.

The fact of the matter is that Britain is one of the richest countries in the world.

Even the Bible suggests that Christian households should tithe 10 per cent of their earnings, so even 1 per cent should be the very least Britain can afford for poorer countries.

Please think again prime minister and restore it to 0.7 per cent with an aim of increasing it to 1 per cent.

Geoffrey Brooking 


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