With an economy in freefall from the onslaught of Covid-19, France’s President Macron may be ruing his decision to set up a Citizens’ Convention for the Climate to advise on emissions reduction. With impeccable timing, the citizens have come forward with their recommendations, which, according to The Times, include the closure of out-of-town hypermarkets to encourage shopping locally, shelving the 5G network because it uses 30 percent more electricity than previous iterations, and prohibiting the sale of cars that emit more than 110g of CO2 per kilometre by 2025 – i.e. the majority of the cars on the road today. Oh, and most adverts for products generating high levels of CO2 should be banned, and those that are authorised will have to carry the wording: “Do you really need this? Overconsumption harms the planet.” Not exactly a textbook recipe for getting the country back on its feet, perhaps.
What is Extinction Rebellion up to during the Covid-19 lockdown? Journalist David Rose has been doing some digging and presented the fruits of his labours to readers of The Spectator this month. Rose has obtained a discussion paper written by Rupert Read of the University of East Anglia, who, by the way, was once an avid letter writer to LTT, and who is now one of the leading lights in the climate direct action group. Entitled, ‘Some strategic scenario-scoping of the coronavirus – XR nexus’, Read sets out his strategy: “The moment to make these very real parallels, between climate and corona, is when the virus starts to wane. Because that is when there will suddenly be a collective sigh of relief, and huge ideological forces will swing into action to say: start shopping and jetting again, go back to ‘life as normal’. That is the moment when we need to say (in words, and actions): let’s not jump from the frying pan of coronavirus to the fire of climate cataclysm.” Airports, Highways England and HS2 Ltd: you have been warned!
LTT may be a late-comer to video conferencing, but, in for a penny, in for a pound, our inaugural event last week on coronavirus certainly opened our eyes to the possibilities. A few things struck us about the nature of the event, run on Zoom. For instance, while we started with a ‘panel’ who gave their perspective for three minutes each, once the discussion got going, there was a rather nice sense of democracy, each person having a window of equal size on the screen. All quite different from the formal top table and delegate rows of a conference. Secondly, it was striking how good natured the event was. Differences of view were certainly expressed, but the exchanges were all remarkably civil. Was that down to the medium, or perhaps because everyone was at home and feeling relaxed? It’s hard to say. Having dipped our toes in the water, we’re venturing in a bit deeper next week, considering how the lockdown might affect travel behaviour. Details are on page 16. Why not pop-in, the more the merrier – and the drinks are on us afterwards!
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