Socialist Worker

New report a ‘brutal reality check’ as Tories ignore threat of rising temperature

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2663

Rising temperatures will cause an increase in extreme weather

Rising temperatures will cause an increase in extreme weather

Government inaction on climate change is threatening the lives and homes of millions of people in Britain.

That’s according to a report released on Wednesday from government body the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

“There are no areas where government is planning properly,” said Chris Stark, CCC chief executive.

Lord Debden, who chairs the committee, compared it to “Dad’s Army.”

“We can’t possibly go on with this ramshackle system, it doesn’t begin to face the issues. It is a real threat to the population.”

The report exposes how there are no proper plans to deal with heatwaves, flash flooding and other catastrophes that are set to hit.

The CCC says in its annual report that only one of 25 vital emission-cutting policies detailed in its 2018 report has been delivered.

Doug Parr from Greenpeace called the report a “truly brutal reality check”.


“It paints the government as a sleeper who’s woken up, seen the house is on fire, raised the alarm and gone straight back to sleep,” he said.

Global school strikes and the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests have produced momentum around an inspiring new climate movement. But there are urgent tasks ahead.

Eliminating carbon emissions is essential to minimising further temperature rise.

Theresa May promised that Britain would cut almost all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

But the CCC says that Britain is already set to miss its existing targets of an 80 percent cut by 2050. And the 2025 and 2030 targets are now set to be missed by a bigger margin than last year.

Strike to stop climate chaos
Strike to stop climate chaos
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In other words, action on climate change is getting worse—not better.

Climate scientists warn that a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels means an increase in extreme weather, species extinction and threats to food production and human life.

CCC said planning for a four degree temperatures rise is sensible.

But the report said the government “wasn’t prepared for the impacts of a two degree increase in global and UK temperature, let alone a degree temperature increase”.

It said “only a handful of sectors have plans that consider a minimum of two degrees—water supply, road and rail, flood defences and flood risk planning for infrastructure.”

The CCC’s report is a terrifying illustration that, despite the government’s declaration of a climate emergency, it still has its head in the sand.


Happy to ignore the very real threat to human life and the fabric of society, the Tories are determined to continue with business as usual.

Even the momentum gained by the inspiration of the school students strikes and XR actions isn’t enough to shift the Tories.

And the CCC’s report highlights the inability of capitalist democracy to plan for imminent large-scale catastrophe.

It will take a mass movement to take the battle to the next level. The planned strikes on 20 September are a great place to start.

It is possible to build a sustainable world that can take on the challenge of a planet almost destroyed by capitalism.

It will mean dumping the rich and building a socialist society that works in the interests of ordinary people.

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