By Sophie Squire
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Sunak’s fracking U-turn doesn’t mean Tories will tackle climate chaos

This article is over 1 years, 5 months old
The United Nations released another damning report on the same day
Issue 2829
A sea of climate activists on the protest against Cop26. They're holding banners and home-made placards. Anti- fracking pro system change

100,000 march on the Cop26 conference in Glasgow last year (Picture: Andrew McGowan)

Tory prime minister Rishi Sunak restored the moratorium on fracking on Wednesday, fearing further political earthquakes for the government.

In her short time in office, Liz Truss lifted the ban on the dangerous method, claiming that she could “get the gas flowing in as soon as six months”. But Sunak told Prime Ministers’ Questions he was committed to the ban on fracking in England set out in the Tories’ 2019 manifesto.

The Tories had championed fracking under David Cameron in 2014. But it proved to be unpopular among ordinary people, fuelling lively local campaigns, and an expensive failure for bosses.

Every drilling well that was fracked caused earthquakes that forced companies to shut down operations on the sites. Figures of gas reserves, quoted by fracking bosses, turned out to be wild overestimates.

Sunak’s U-turn doesn’t mean the Tories are climate champions. On the same day as his announcement, the United Nations (UN) released another damning report. It says only 24 countries have updated or come up with new plans to tackle climate change after the Cop26 conference in Glasgow last autumn. Tory Britain isn’t one of those countries.

With these current inadequate targets in place, the report warns that emissions will increase by a deadly 10.6 percent by 2030. 

Simon Stiell is Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He warned, “We are still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to put us on track toward a 1.5 degrees celsius world.

“To keep this goal alive, national governments need to strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them in the next eight years.”

Meanwhile, a new report has detailed how environmental collapse will have a devastating impact on our health

The report, updated annually by the Lancet medical journal, says that urgent action on climate change is needed to stop us from getting sicker. Heat-related deaths have increased by as much as 68 percent between 2004 and 2021—which most healthcare systems are unable to deal with. 

It says that urgent action is needed to extend greenspaces in urban areas. And to arm health services with the resources needed to deal with an influx of people suffering heat-related illnesses.  

The report also warns that climate change could mean infectious diseases can spread more easily. 

Researchers found that the number of months when Malaria could spread increased by 31.3 percent in the highland areas of the Americas. This figure was up 13.8 percent in the highlands of Africa. 

The report shows how living under a system addicted to fossil fuels makes us sick. It says, “Fossil fuel dependence is not only undermining global health through increased climate change impacts.

“It also affects human health and wellbeing directly, through volatile and unpredictable fossil fuel markets, frail supply chains, and geopolitical conflicts. As a result, millions of people do not have access to the energy needed to keep their homes at healthy temperatures, preserve food and medication.” 

The report also added that new findings must be a “call to action.” It concludes that, “After 30 years of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations, the Lancet Countdown indicators show that countries and companies continue to make choices that threaten the health and survival of people in every part of the world.”

We need more mass mobilisations against climate chaos and the profit-system that’s driving us to disaster.

 

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