Shortly after Boris Johnson announced a sales ban on all petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2035 Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, signalled his aim to bring this forward to 2032 at the latest. What are the key drivers of this policy and what does this say about the state of British democracy?
In order to answer this question, let’s take look at the manifestos presented by the main parties at the general election held in December 2019.
The Manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Parties all claim that we are confronted with a climate emergency. The Liberal Democrats, in particular, proclaim that we should 'be proud to be the first country to declare a 'climate emergency!'
The Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto Get Brexit Done: Unleash Britain's Potential claimed that 'the climate emergency means that the challenges we face stretch far beyond our borders.' They pledged 'a £640 million new Nature for Climate fund' and that with the proposed 'Great Northumberland Forest’, tree planting in the UK ‘will reach an additional 75,000 acres of trees a year.' They promise to 'lead the global fight against climate change by delivering on our world-leading target of Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050' and to achieve this they intend to ensure our 'offshore wind industry reaches 40GW by 2030 and we will enable new floating wind farms'. In addition we could expect 'strict new laws on air quality and the phasing out of the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars.' They also boast about 'hosting the UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2020.'
The Labour Party Manifesto It's time for real change - for the many and not the few claimed an elected Labour Government would 'use its' influence at the UN, EU, G7, G20, World Bank, the Commonwealth and other global institutions to promote policies to tackle the climate emergency. Labour will kick-start a 'Green Industrial Revolution' and will 'launch a National Transformation Fund of £400 billion and rewrite the Treasury's investment rules to guarantee that every penny spent is compatible with our climate and environmental targets.' Labour's plans included building '7,000 new offshore wind turbines 2,000 new onshore wind turbines and enough solar panels to cover 22,000 football pitches.' They claimed that their plans would 'put the UK on track for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s.' Private motorists will fare no better in voting Labour who claim 'the Conservatives have committed to ending new sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2040. Labour will aim for 2030.'
The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Stop Brexit and Build a Better Future emphasised their desire to 'turn the birthplace of the industrial revolution into the home of the new Green Revolution.' Their green proposals included 'converting the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology (electric or hydrogen) by 2035; an emergency ten-year programme to reduce energy consumption from all the UK's buildings and '£5 billion of initial capital for a new Green Investment Bank, using public money to attract private investment for zero-carbon priorities.' Additional Liberal Democrat plans included 'investing in renewable power so that at least 80 per cent of UK electricity is generated from renewables by 2030; planting 60 million trees a year to absorb carbon, protect wildlife and improve health and ensuring that all new cars are electric by 2030.'
They would set new legally binding targets to 'reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 at the latest' and have ambitions to invest in large scale 'restoration of peat lands, heathland, native woodlands, salt marshes, wetlands and coastal waters ... which will be 'piloting re-wilding' approaches.'
On page 94 they freely admit that
Our plan for the future is built on championing ... international values ... and promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals both in the UK and abroad.
The Green Party Manifesto If Not Now, When? claimed that their Green New Deal for energy 'will get the UK on track to reducing climate emissions to net zero by 2030.' To achieve this they plan to 'accelerate wind energy development, paving the way for wind to provide around 70% of the UK's electricity by 2030.' They also have plans to introduce 'new support for solar, geothermal, tidal, hydro and other renewable energies.' The Green Party will 'apply a Carbon Tax on all fossil fuel imports and domestic extraction [and] raise the Carbon Tax rate progressively over a decade, rendering coal, oil and gas financially unviable.
Listed among their New Green Deal for Transport priorities are plans to 'spend £2.5 billion a year on new cycleways and footpaths; the introduction of a Carbon Tax on all fossil fuels to include the cost of petrol and diesel and ending the sale of new petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles by 2030.
The Green Party have ambitious plans to 'plant 700 million new trees' and are also keen to pursue the 'rewilding' of spaces to provide new habitats for wildlife. Much more controversial are their plans to 'support the transition to plant based diets by phasing in a tax on meat and dairy products over the next ten years.'
Just like the Liberal Democrats the Green Party make clear, on page 45, that they
will make supporting the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals a priority.
The Brexit Party contract with the people proposed 'planting millions of trees to capture CO2' and to 'promote a global initiative at the UN.'
Manifestos of the minor political parties in Scotland and Wales
When we turned our attention to the smaller parties in both Scotland and Wales we found that their environmental policies were almost identical.
For example, the Scottish National Party Manifesto Stronger for Scotland claimed that they would 'demand the UK accelerates its action to meet Scotland's climate change targets - the toughest legal targets in the world - of a 75% reduction in emissions by 2030, net zero carbon emissions no later than 2040 and net zero of all emissions by 2045.' In addition, SNP will press for an' increase in new woodland creation, working towards a target of 60 million trees planted annually in the UK by 2025, with 30 million of these in Scotland to help tackle the Climate Emergency.'
Motorists would fare no better with the SNP promising to 'campaign for the UK government to bring forward plans to move to electric vehicles to match the Scottish target of 2032.'
The Plaid Cymru manifesto - Wales, it's us told potential voters that their environmental priorities are to 'implement a Green Jobs Revolution which will ensure that Wales makes the transition to becoming 100% self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2030.' They want to 'increase Welsh woodland by introducing a 'minimum planting rate of 2,000 hectares a year from 2020.' They are yet another political party with plans to 'accelerate the transition to an electric transport system so that petrol and diesel cars are phased out by 2030.'
Irrespective of which political party you voted for in the December 2019 election the phasing out of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035 was inevitable.
Banning the sale of new Petrol and diesel vehicles is not a UK Phenomenon
The are numerous examples of Nations and Cities proposing similar bans. For example, in 2017 India announced plans to sell only electric cars by 2030. Similar bans have been announced by Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden. France signified its' intention to ban the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040 and only last month the Irish Government announced that there will be ban on the purchase of all petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.
Listed among cities imposing similar bans by 2030 are Amsterdam, Auckland, Barcelona, Heidelberg, Los Angeles, Milan, Seattle and Vancouver. More will soon follow because we are witnessing the transformation of the transport sector on a global scale. But what is the motivating factor behind this?
The Paris Agreement and Nationally determined contributions (NDCs)
The primary driver for reduced emissions is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992. This is referenced within the Paris agreement signed following COP 25 in 2015. At the time 196 Parties agreed to 'set the world on a course towards sustainable development, aiming at limiting warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.' In previous decades we have witnessed the savage decline of most of our energy intensive manufacturing industries. To drive emissions down further fossil fuel use to heat domestic dwellings and for the purpose of private motoring also have to be curbed.
Article 4 (2) of the Paris agreement makes clear that:
Each Party shall prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions that it intends to achieve.
Article 4 (4) of the Paris Agreement states 'Developed country Parties should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets. Developing country Parties should continue enhancing their mitigation efforts, and are encouraged to move over time towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the light of different national circumstances.'
The United Nations Climate Change website tell us that:
Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of these long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
On 6 March 2015 the European Union committed its' member states, including the United Kingdom, to the following Intended Nationally Determined Contribution 'a binding target of an at least 40% domestic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990.'
And in their report, published jointly in 2019, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Resources Institute reveal that Nationally Determined Contributions should ’grow more ambitious over time … with 2020 as a critical next step in the Paris process.' On page 35 of this document it recommends that contracting parties 'Sell last fossil fuel passenger cars by 2035-2050.'
With the United Kingdom hosting the next Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Scotland between 9 - 19 November 2020 it appears to us that Boris Johnson and his government wish to make more savage cuts than those suggested in the Enhancing NCDs report. The obvious consequences are that, with the heavy cost of purchasing all electric vehicles, private motoring will soon be a freedom enjoyed by the few.
The Club of Rome Connection
The Club of Rome, a think-tank and advisor to the United Nations, was founded in 1968 at David Rockefeller's estate in Bellagio, Italy. Its' existing and past membership includes well known globalist figures such as:
Bill Clinton - former President of the United States; Al Gore - former VP of the United States and leading climate change campaigner; Maurice Strong - former Head of the UN Environment Programme, Secretary General of the Rio Earth Summit 1992 and co-author (with Gorbachev) of the Earth Charter; Kofi Annan dec'd - former Secretary General of the United Nations; Gro Harlem Bruntland - former United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change, Director-General of the World Health Organization from 1998 to 2003; Robert Muller - former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and creator of the World Core Curriculum; George Soros - multi-billionaire and major donor to the UN; Bill Gates - founder of Microsoft, "philanthropist" and finally David Rockefeller dec'd - Club of Rome executive member, former Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, founder of the Trilateral Commission, executive member of the World Economic Forum and Honorary Chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations.
The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome was published in 1991, just prior to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change. In this report the authors admit that
In searching for the new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that … the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and in their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which demands the solidarity of all peoples.
In the transformed world order envisioned by this network of global elites they have this to say about the limits of democracy.
Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. The complexity and the technical nature of many of today's problems do not always allow elected representatives to make competent decisions at the right time.
So a prediction made in 1991 that elected representatives in nation states would not be competent to make major policy decisions and democracy was simply an inconvenient barrier that had to be overcome. This self selecting group of powerful internationalists, are today driving the worlds' population to a pre-determined destination.
In promoting this global plan to condemn petrol and diesel powered vehicles to the scrap-heap, the elected government, opposition political parties and the mainstream print and visual media appear to be willing accomplices in the deception that we still live in a healthy democracy.