Posts Tagged ‘Uncategorized’

Climate Change and the Irony of Brexit

Albert Weale argues that at a time of a climate crisis trumping frontiers, international governance is needed more than ever. Leaving the EU and its structures of cooperation could thus be counterproductive for the UK as the country sets new…

The Cycles of the Sun

The Cycles of the Sun

Sun spot activity


Always look beyond the things we are being told, towards the things we aren’t being told.

NASA forecasts the next solar cycle, cycle 25, to be even lower than the cycle we’re now in, cycle 24, which is itself much lower than the recent preceding cycles. If the prediction is correct, cycle 25 will be the lowest since the Dalton minimum 200 years ago.

Interestingly, the last time I looked, the relevant NASA website only talked about how this predicted long period of low Solar activity will provide a safer environment for astronauts on space missions. It gives none of the detail provided in the video link below. It is my belief that this video will in time have implications that will reach far beyond the health and safety of a small number of space-faring astronauts.

So, if NASA’s prediction turns out to be correct, what can we expect to see happen?

Low solar activity is associated with high cosmic ray levels which increase cloud nucleation and therefore cloudiness. This in turn increases rainfall and also increases the Earth’s albedo, having a cooling effect.

Furthermore, when solar activity is low, incoming EUV (Extreme ultraviolet) is much reduced. It can be ten times lower at Solar minimum than at Solar maximum. EUV heats the upper atmosphere in the high and low latitudes so when the Sun is quiet the upper atmosphere in the far North and South cools and contracts. This disrupts the polar jet streams and causes them to wander. This in turn results in cold polar air plunging into temperate and even tropical regions and warm, moist, tropical air streaming polewards.

The change in EUV is quite small compared with total Solar irradiance, which, when averaged out, does not change much at all over a Solar Cycle. It therefore seems likely that when EUV, which is blocked by the upper atmosphere, is low it is compensated for by a slight increase in lower frequency radiation resulting in an increase in ocean heating.

The contraction (thinning) of the atmosphere in the temperate and to a lesser degree, subtropical zones might also have other effects. Here I’m thinking of atmospheric rivers which lead to severe local flooding while depriving surrounding areas of normal rainfall and extremely large hail. (Hail melts on the way down. Less atmosphere, less melting.)

Writings and paintings from the time of the Maunder and Dalton Minimums, which, when taken together, are known as the little ice age, depict a frozen Thames and snowy scenes and describe famines, floods and droughts. (Like the failure/late arrival of the Indian monsoon.) Drawings which show arrows shooting down from sky are now thought to depict deadly hail.

One can, even during the minimum of a normal Solar cycle, often see the signature of a solar minimum in the weather. E.g. an unusually snowy period in winter in the UK. Such events are not confined to the actual minimum itself and may occur in the seasons before or after the minimum. (This is not weather forecasting!)

However, we are now near or in the minimum of a very low cycle and apparently, in approximately 11 or 12 years’ time, will be at the bottom of a cycle predicted to be even lower than the one we’re in now.

Although here in the UK we have not (so far) seen much in the way of a Solar Minimum impact on our weather, with the possible exception of the Beast from the East cold spell, in Canada and the US there is no doubt whatsoever. The last winter started early and ended late with, e.g., temperatures in Chicago falling to North Pole levels. Snowfall was very heavy with long time and all-time records being broken and has been followed by a record cool, cloudy very wet summer resulting in catastrophic record flooding in the Mississippi catchment area. Not only has this delayed or prevented planting this season’s crops in many areas, but much of the grain stored from last season has been destroyed by the floods.

This short video will, I believe, in time, have far-reaching implications

A short while ago a paper was published demonstrating beyond reasonable doubt that there is correlation between past solar cycles and the movements in their orbits of our planets in their never ending, possibly never repeating, complex dance about our heavens. I find it tantalising to think, given enough time and computing power, that from this it might one day be possible to predict future solar cycles with complete confidence and accuracy.

Finally, in this regard, while focus has naturally been on the gravitational interaction between the gas giants and the Sun I would like to suggest that consideration be given to the huge electric currents that flow through space to and from the Sun and the possibility that planetary alignments, including those of the smaller planets, provide conductive stepping-stones for these current flows and therefore might play a part in the cycles of the Sun.


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Richard Ekins: Reflections on Democracy’s Foundations

This is part of a series of posts in which Richard Ekins reflects upon Lord Sumption’s Reith Lectures. You can find the first posts here, here and here.

In his fifth and final Reith lecture, broadcast yesterday morning and entitled “Shifting the Foundations”, Jonathan Sumption brings to a conclusion his reflections on “the decline of politics and the rise of law to fill the void”.  The lecture encourages us to resist calls for a written constitution, calls which, Sumption says, “mark the extreme point” of “our persistent habit of looking for legal solutions to what are really political problems”.  He makes the case instead for the merits of our historic constitution and for efforts to shore up the political foundations of our democracy.

Sumption notes that a written constitution would almost certainly expand the constitutional role of judges and that the point of every scheme for such has been to cut down legislative power.  He reiterates his scepticism “about claims that our system of government can be improved by injecting a larger legal element into it”.  I share the scepticism.  Of course, not all legal changes are made equal.  The devolutionary settlements, which the lecture goes on to praise, involve change to constitutional law, and expand the jurisdiction of the courts in important ways, but do not transform the constitutional balance between political and legal authorities.  The key question, as Sumption implies, is whether legal changes disable or dilute legislative power and parliamentary democracy.

The British constitution is centred on “the sovereignty of Parliament”, which Sumption rightly says “is the foundation of our democracy”.  Parliament is limited not by law but by conventions, which “derive their force from shared political sentiment”.  The government takes a central place within Parliament, which “is not just a legislative or deliberative body but an instrument of government”.  This scheme is very different to the constitutions of other states (New Zealand aside), but Sumption cautions the need to understand how it arose before looking for alternatives.  The distinctiveness of our constitution, he says, is no vice as it is a result of our unique history.  “For more than three centuries”, Britain “has been fortunate, or perhaps unfortunate, in having experienced none of the catastrophes that have called for new beginnings elsewhere.” And in practice, the political constitution has proved its worth, enabling “the British state to adapt to major changes in our national life which would have overwhelmed much more formal arrangements”.  He takes devolution as his main example, contrasting the UK’s capacity to accommodate Scottish and Welsh nationalism with Spain’s difficulty with Catalan nationalism, a difficulty compounded by the rigidity of the Spanish constitution.

I agree that our constitution has proved its worth over time, enabling major political changes while maintaining continuity with our political and legal history.  The openness of the Westminster constitution to radical political change is a virtue.  This radical capacity is subject to the self-tempering discipline that today’s majority may be tomorrow’s minority: long-term, stable change requires widespread public support.  Responsible government and parliamentary democracy are oriented towards the common good and make self-government possible.  They form part of a shared constitutional tradition and their political foundation is the joint commitment of the people of the United Kingdom to be governed by way of these arrangements, which unite them in common action.  The devolutionary settlements were introduced and have been extended in this way.  The risk of the experiment, which Sumption perhaps should have noted (but see his outstanding lecture “The Disunited Kingdom”), is that devolution may end up eroding the common feeling that supports the constitution.  That is, the United Kingdom may cease to be a single (if complex) political community.

Sumption’s intention is to persuade his audience “that we ought to be looking at more fundamental causes of the current diseases of our body politic than the peculiarities of our constitution.”  Recalling his second lecture, Sumption argues that the real problem is public disengagement with politics, a phenomenon evident in declining party membership, falling electoral turnout, and widely shared contempt for politicians.  The phenomenon is seen across the West and its causes, Sumption argues, “are inherent in the democratic process itself”.  Echoing his first lecture, he notes that democracy generates expectations that are inevitably disappointed, undermining public confidence, a dynamic which is especially pronounced in hard times, when growth falters and inequality rises.  Relatedly, “the perceived remoteness of politicians” is a problem, yet representative politics inevitably produces a political class, distinguished by ambition, zeal and knowledge.  Modern ideas of representation, Sumption says, require representatives not just to act for the people but to be like them, which is always unlikely.  And in the UK, the rejection of political elites has had a particularly significant consequence, which is to surrender political parties to extremists, making parties less capable of, or even interested in, compromise and responsible government.

Across the West, Sumption argues, political community is under strain and democracy has become ever less stable.  “The United States has for the moment ceased to be a political community, because neither side of the major political divide respects the legitimacy of policy positions that they disagree with.”  The same, he says, is true in Britain in relation to Brexit.  This is an overstatement, it seems to me, but it is true that democracy requires us to recognise one another as fellow citizens, to jointly seek our common good, and to accept the legitimacy of decisions we make together.  Representative politics requires political elites, but representation badly misfires not only when the masses have contempt for elites but also when elites disparage or disengage from the masses.  In a powerful lecture earlier this year, Richard Tuck noted that the sociological foundations for democracy in the past included industrialisation, where national prosperity required mass action, and the age of citizen armies, where national defence required shared military service.  Democracy is in trouble when elites and masses no longer understand themselves to share a common good, including when elites begin to identify more closely with a transnational or supranational community than with their own.

Having reviewed “our current problems of political legitimacy”, Sumption concludes that adopting a written constitution would “not make any difference”.  For all it would do would be to shift “power from an elective and removable aristocracy of knowledge, to a corps of judges which is just as remote, less representative, and neither elective nor removable.” This is an understatement.  Parliamentarians may be remote, but they are nothing like as remote as senior judges.  They are exposed to public criticism and opinion in a way from which judges are, rightly, largely insulated.  Investing judges with responsibility for political choice would sharply worsen the problem of political legitimacy.  It would also compromise the judicial capacity to contribute to the rule of law and would institute a mode of government that is not well-placed to secure the common good.

Rather than toying with a written constitution, Sumption encourages his audience to consider electoral reform, which would open the space for minor parties and force the main parties to broaden their appeal beyond a narrow base.  The site for compromise would thus be between parties rather than within them, which might mean weaker, less stable government.  But, Sumption reasons, this would “be a price worth paying if it boosted public engagement with politics” and enabled compromise to be forged.  Electoral reform is certainly worth considering – New Zealand’s abandonment of first past the post in the 1990s seems broadly successful, even if not without its cost in terms of transparency and responsibility.  And one might consider more particular reform of political parties, limiting the risk, on display in recent years, that the membership outside Parliament will foist a leader on the parliamentary caucus who then lacks the confidence of his or her colleagues.

The lecture concludes by prophesying that democracy will not end with a bang, but will simply fade away, with our “institutions imperceptibly drained of everything that once made them democratic.”  It is a chilling warning and a fitting end to the series but it does invite some wider thoughts about these Reith lectures.  Sumption often assumes that law has risen to fill a void left by the decline of politics.  But the relationship between the two is dynamic, as these lectures in part confirm.  The rise of law, itself fuelled by the hostility of many lawyers towards parliamentary democracy, serves to oust politics and partly causes its decline.  The adoption of supra-national legal restraints, enforceable by domestic and European judges, is the extreme case and clearly weakens national democracy (see further Peter Mair and Helen Thompson).  The analogous trend in domestic courts is also important, even if political authorities strictly have a greater capacity to resist judicial usurpation at home.

The Reith lectures argue that turning to the law will not solve our problems of political legitimacy.  This is a point rightly made but it risks understating, as I say, the contribution that “law’s expanding empire” has made to those problems.  It may also at times take for granted a shared commitment to democratic legitimacy, whereas in fact it is the thinness of elite commitment to political legitimacy that is a main reason to fear for democracy’s future.  The calls for a written constitution, or for supra-national law and adjudication, or for domestic litigation to discipline our political authorities – these may not be misguided attempts to shore up democracy’s foundations, but rather attempts to tie an unruly people down.  Sumption is, as I have said, no radical democrat; his call for greater public engagement in politics is limited by his choice to frame representative politics as a restraint on popular majorities.  But he rightly sees, I suggest, that a political strategy of demobilising the people, of relying on law to restrain politics, is not only unjust but also unstable and hence imprudent.

Richard Ekins is Associate Professor, University of Oxford, Head of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project, and editor (with N. W. Barber and P. Yowell) of Lord Sumption and the Limits of the Law (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2016).

(Suggested citations: R. Ekins, ‘Reflections on Democracy’s Foundations’, U.K. Const. Blog (19th Jun. 2019) (available at

A country of purists: the polling which lays bare the death of any compromise on Brexit

In a piece for, Christina Pagel and Christabel Cooper analyse new polling data to show that a large majority of voters are now Brexit ‘purists’, who support either Remain or No-Deal and won’t have it any other way. And…

News review – Thursday 13 June 2019

News review – Thursday 13 June 2019

No-deal blocker

MPs have rejected a cross-party attempt to give the Commons another chance to block a no-deal Brexit, in a boost to Eurosceptic hopes of leaving the EU at the end of October. Jeremy Corbyn had joined forces with other opposition parties and the Conservative grandee Sir Oliver Letwin to offer a crucial test of parliament’s ability to block a no-deal exit. The motion would simply have booked time this month for MPs to seize control of the Commons agenda to vote on Brexit, but it was widely understood as a precursor to an attempt to demonstrate MPs’ opposition to no-deal before the new prime minister enters Downing Street.

A LABOUR Party plot to block a no deal Brexit has been sabotaged by Brexiteers who voted against it in a sensational day of political drama in the House of Commons. MPs voted 298/309 on the motion prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal. There was a majority of 11, meaning the vote was extremely close. The vote in the House of Commons, which has seen Brexiteers take back control from Remainer MPs, saw Tory hopeful Sajid Javid’s launch delayed. The BBC reported that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was heard shouting at Brexiteer MPs who cheered at the result: “You won’t be cheering in September!”

Conservative leadership candidates including Boris Johnson hoping to force a “deal or no deal” Brexit in October have been handed a boost after MPs defeated a Labour-led attempt to tie the next prime minister’s hands. Labour vowed it would not end efforts to stop no deal but the defeat bolstered Johnson’s claim at his leadership launch that MPs would not be prepared to “reap the whirlwind” of halting Brexit entirely as Tory MPs prepared for the first round on voting to choose the next prime minister on Thursday.

A former Tory cabinet minister has threatened to bring down the government in a confidence vote if the next prime minister tries to force a no-deal Brexit against the wishes of MPs. Tory whips saw off a move yesterday that would have allowed the Commons to legislate against a no-deal Brexit. Eight Labour MPs voted against the party’s motion and a further 13 abstained, while only ten Tory MPs rebelled against their whip, with the result that the proposal was defeated by 309 votes to 298.

A Tory MP has broken ranks and announced he’s prepared to BRING DOWN the government to stop a No Deal Brexit . Veteran Remainer Dominic Grieve declared he “will not hesitate” to back Labour in a no-confidence vote if needed to stop a “chaotic and appalling” exit on October 31. He declared: “I’m not going to spend my time talking to children and grandchildren later on and saying, when it came to it, I just decided to give up. “I won’t do that.”

British opposition lawmakers failed Wednesday in their latest attempt to ensure the U.K. can’t leave the European Union without a divorce deal. The House of Commons voted 309-298 against setting aside a day later this month to try to pass legislation that would prevent a no-deal Brexit. “This is a disappointing, narrow defeat. But this is just the start, not the end of our efforts to block ‘no deal,’” said Labour Party Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.

Boris Johnson has privately assured senior Brexiteers that he will leave open the option of suspending parliament to force through a no-deal exit from the European Union, The Times has been told. The frontrunner to become the next leader of the Conservative Party has repeatedly voiced his opposition to the highly controversial move at hustings as he seeks to attract support from all wings of the party

Sky News
The government has survived an attempt by the opposition to seize control of the House of Commons agenda in their attempt to block a no-deal Brexit. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn led a cross-party effort on Wednesday to suspend parliament’s rules later this month. This would have allowed opposition MPs to bring forward legislation aimed at preventing the UK leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement on 31 October.

BBC News
MPs have rejected a Labour-led effort to take control of Parliament’s timetable, blocking the latest attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit. The Commons opposed the move by 309 votes to 298. If passed, it would have given opponents of a no-deal Brexit the chance to table legislation to thwart the UK leaving without any agreement on the 31 October deadline. The result of the vote was greeted with cheers from the Tory benches.

Remainer MPs lost a crucial Commons vote on blocking No Deal tonight – in an early win for Boris Johnson.  A cross-party motion designed to seize control from the government was defeated by 309 to 298. The Labour-backed move was seemingly timed to coincide with Mr Johnson‘s leadership campaign launch – after he vowed to force through Brexit by the end of October at all costs.  Another would-be PM, Dominic Raab, has threatened to suspend Parliament when the deadline comes near to prevent it intervening.

Opposition MPs have lost a critical vote on a bid to prevent a future Conservative prime minister from forcing through a no-deal Brexit. Labour introduced a motion paving the way for parliament to block a chaotic Brexit by seizing control of the Commons timetable on 25 June. But MPs rejected the cross-party effort by 309 votes to 298, in a blow to hopes of preventing a Brexiteer prime minister from taking the UK out of the EU without a deal in October.

Tory leadership

Conservative leadership candidates including Boris Johnson hoping to force a “deal or no deal” Brexit in October have been handed a boost after MPs defeated a Labour-led attempt to tie the next prime minister’s hands. Labour vowed it would not end efforts to stop no deal but the defeat bolstered Johnson’s claim at his leadership launch that MPs would not be prepared “reap the whirlwind” of halting Brexit entirely as Tory MPs prepared for the first round on voting to choose the next prime minister on Thursday.

Boris Johnson promised the “guts and the courage” to take Britain out of the EU by Oct 31 as he launched his campaign to become prime minister. The former foreign secretary said the time had come “to remember our duty to the people and the reasons for the Brexit vote”. He promised to provide the “clarity” of vision needed to deliver the result of the EU referendum with or without a deal, and warned MPs they would face “mortal retribution” from voters if they tried to stop Brexit.

Boris Johnson is driving Britain to a Brexit “cliff-edge at speed”, Philip Hammond has warned. Moments after the former foreign secretary launched his campaign for Downing Street by attempting to portray himself as the unifying candidate who could heal the country’s Brexit divisions, the chancellor hit out at his “impossible” vow to leave the EU on October 31. At his launch event Mr Johnson said that “after three years and two missed deadlines we must leave the EU on October 31”, adding: “Delay means defeat. Delay means Corbyn.


BRUSSELS bosses admit their own fishermen face being shut out of British waters if we leave without a Brexit deal. EU officials said continental trawlermen must “prepare for the possibility” they will no longer be able to land catches in UK seas after October 31. In a new paper they said they will try to get an agreement on fishing with the next British PM but are mobilising funds to prevent mass job losses if that fails. And the paper warned of the possibility No Deal could spark a free-for-all between coastal nations vying for the remaining fish stocks in EU waters.


BRUSSELS ruled out changing the Irish ‘backstop’ – as France warned Britain would break international law if it withholds the £39bn Brexit bill. Jean-Claude Juncker said there’s no chance of a time-limit for the border fix and the best Britain can hope for is tweaks to the non-binding trade plan. The Commission chief shut down hopes of a compromise insisting Theresa May’s deal “has to be respected by whomsoever will be the next British PM”. He said: “There will be no renegotiation as far as the content of the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned.

THE EU may refuse any request to extend the UK’s EU exit beyond October 31, leading to a no-deal exit, according to a dramatic warning. Sir Ivan Rogers, formerly the UK’s ambassador to the EU, claimed European countries are losing patience with Britain. Currently the UK is due to leave the EU on October 31, but some Conservative leadership candidates have suggested this could be extended.

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has ruled out time-limiting the Irish backstop as a number of European leaders are telling prospective Tory Party leadership hopefuls that a new prime minister will not be able to change the withdrawal treaty. “There will be no renegotiation as far as the content of the Withdrawal Agreement is concerned,” Mr Juncker said on Tuesday.

Yahoo News
The European Commission on Wednesday said a no-deal Brexit was “very much possible” as it updated its contingency preparations and told countries, companies and people to be ready for the expected economic fallout. The European Union’s executive said it would pay particular attention in coming months to crucial areas including citizens rights, financial services, transport and fisheries, ahead of Britain’s departure from the bloc, now due on Oct.31.

The far-right strongman of Italy’s populist coalition government, Matteo Salvini, has got a new bargaining chip in his battle to get more cash: minibots. They are the brainchild of economist Claudio Borghi, a senior member of Salvini’s party, the League. The concept is a low denomination bond that can be used within Italy as a fresh way for the government to issue debt. That idea also underpins its name: Buoni Ordinari del Tesoro (BOT), or Ordinary Treasury Bonds and ‘mini’, as the notes involved are lower than the minimum level at which government debt is now issued,

Labour Party

One of Jeremy Corbyn’s most important allies hit out at the Labour leader’s critics yesterday after the party’s divisions were exposed yet again over Brexit and antisemitism. Ian Lavery, the party chairman, told a meeting of the shadow cabinet that MPs had been disrespectful when Mr Corbyn addressed them on Monday night. One Labour MP told The Times that the meeting had been the worst of his leadership as Mr Corbyn came under fire from usually loyal MPs, especially over the party’s stance on a second EU referendum.

Yahoo News
Jeremy Corbyn wants a “Tory Brexit” so the Conservative Party gets the blame “when things go wrong”, former Labour chancellor Alistair Darling has said. Lord Darling said Labour had been “taken to the cleaners” at the European elections last month because there was not “clarity” on whether the party backed a second referendum or not. “It’s never been clear to me that Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a Brexiteer.


The Brexit Party has a ‘high and ongoing risk’ of accepting “impermissible” foreign donations, the elections watchdog has declared. The Electoral Commission is now urging Nigel Farage’s party to improve its system after the Mirror exposed holes in the way it takes vast sums of money. And the watchdog will consider possible enforcement if the Brexit Party fails to take the recommended steps. Our investigation revealed how loopholes in the law and the party’s website could allow millions in untraceable donations to pour into the party.


Nigel Farage has demanded police take action against Jo Brand for “incitement of violence” after the comedian joked about throwing battery acid at politicians. During an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Heresy, the comedian was asked by host Victoria Coren Mitchell about the “terrible” state of British politics.  She replied: “Well, yes I would say that but I think that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore and they’re very, very easy to hate and I’m kind of thinking: ‘Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?”

NIGEL Farage failed to see the funny side after comedian Jo Brand said “battery acid and not milkshake” should be thrown at him. The Brexit Party leader said she was “inciting violence” by her comments on a Radio 4 panel show and police should be brought in. Brand was asked if she thought UK politics was going through a “terrible” time. She said it was “pathetic” to throw milkshake at political opponents during campaigning for the EU elections last month.

Comedian Jo Brand has sparked anger after she joked about her ‘fantasy’ that politicians should have battery acid thrown at them instead of milkshakes. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage  accused the comedian of inciting violence after she made she made the comments during Victoria Coren Mitchell‘s Heresy on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday night.  In reply to a question about the state of UK politics, the 61-year-old said: “Well, yes I would say that but that’s because certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore and they’re very, very easy to hate.

Second referendum

Yahoo News
Campaigners for a second Brexit referendum are planning another mass protest in London ahead of the date on which Britain is due to leave the European Union in October as the leading candidates to be the next prime minister say they will leave without a trade deal. The People’s Vote campaign, which includes several pro-EU groups, plans a series of rallies around Britain over the next few months called “Let us be heard”. They will culminate in a march in London on Saturday, Oct. 12, in what organisers say will be one of the biggest demonstrations Britain has ever seen.


Huffington Post
An eco-charity is threatening Michael Gove with legal action amid claims he is using ministerial powers to “delete” regulations on hazardous pesticides post-Brexit. The Chem Trust says the environment secretary has laid a last-minute amendment to Brexit legislation which would “substantially weaken” UK law and oversight of chemicals.  The charity says the move, being pushed through using executive changes to the EU Withdrawal Bill – which ministers said was aimed at copying EU laws onto the UK statute book – is “the first concrete evidence” of Brexit being used “as a cover for deregulation”.

Greenhouse gas

Sky News
The UK will produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Theresa May has pledged.  The outgoing prime minister is to announce a legally binding agreement on Wednesday to put the UK on the path to end its contribution to climate change in just over 30 years. This would mean any emissions produced by the UK after 2050 would be offset by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere. The move, which will amend the Climate Change Act 2008, will improve public health, air quality and biodiversity. It will mean the UK is set to become the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions.

Theresa May has announced a new Government plan for the UK to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, marking one her last major pieces of legislation she will put forward before stepping down as Prime Minister. The new legislation will make Britain the first G7 country to legally commit to cutting its emissions to this level, and sets a legally binding target to end the UK’s contribution to climate change over the next 30 years. The plans will see the Climate Change Act 2008 amended from its current target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by the middle of the century to the new, tougher goal.

BBC News
Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change. Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a “moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than what we inherited”. Cutting emissions would benefit public health and cut NHS costs, she said. Britain is the first major nation to propose this target – and it has been widely praised by green groups. But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible.

Not content with just banning porn and plastic straws, Theresa May has decided to add a £1 trillion – that’s £1,000,000,000,000 – economic black hole to her legacy with her new policy to force the UK to have ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050. Philip Hammond has already warned that the cost “is likely to be well in excess of a trillion pounds”. Blows the row over tax cuts into insignificance… The problem is that no-one has any idea how much it is actually going to cost. The Climate Change Committee (CCC), chaired by scandal-ridden Lord Deben, has put out a figure of £50 billion every year.

Theresa May‘s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 triggered a row last night when it emerged the target will be reviewed in five years. The Prime Minister yesterday made the UK the first major economy to turn this commitment into law – as one of her final acts in No 10. Environmental campaigners widely praised the move, but some criticised the decision to promise a review in 2024 on whether to keep the target.


NHS watchdogs have been accused of a “whitewash” and failing to act on a damning report into a hospital later found on camera to be abusing its patients.  Last month, police arrested ten staff for suspected offences relating to abuse and neglect after the BBC’s Panorama gained undercover footage that appeared to show vulnerable adults being mistreated at Whorlton Hall in County Durham. Inspectorate the Care Quality Commission had given it an overall rating of “good” following a visit in 2016.

The head of the NHS dementia strategy has warned that the service is struggling to keep up as cases of the degenerative condition surge. NHS figures released yesterday showed that nearly 454,000 people aged 65 or over in England have formally had dementia diagnosed: a record. The number of diagnoses has increased by 7 per cent in the past three years.

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