DeSmog UK Weekly: Leading from the back

5 June 2020 — DesSmog

On your marks, and get set to “race to net-zero”.

That’s the latest language coming from Alok Sharma, the UK’s Business Secretary and COP26 chief (get well soon!), as the government urges countries, companies, and everyone else to “build back better” in the wake of COVID-19.

1,000 businesses, 458 cities, 505 universities, 24 regions, and 36 major investors are reportedly signed up for the middle-distance event. And good luck to them; the world needs them all to be winners.

But such cajoling might carry more weight were the UK not busily outsourcing its polluting activities across the globe, however.

A new report shows the UK spent an average of £1.3 billion annually on fossil fuel projects abroad since the landmark Paris Agreement. While the amount of energy being generated by fossil fuels in the UK has plummeted in recent years, that’s almost double the support it was giving to dirty projects prior to 2015.

And how much did it spend on clean energy pojrects overseas in at the same time? About £148 million a year, the report from Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth US says.

While the initiative no doubt has good intentions, it’s hard to participate in a sport where you suspect the referee of cheating.

Read India Bourke’s report here.

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