The G7 have committed to going fossil free at the latest G7 conference (in 100 years). Opinions are divided on whether the G7 is any longer a good idea and also whether the fossil free pledge is good idea. I agree with Larry Elliot that the whole idea of the G7 is outdated (have you noticed that no protests take place around it anymore). And whilst I can see the idea of the fossil free pledge sends a message, it in my view it suffers from the following rather obvious flaws;
- The fossil free time frame is too long. 100 years is a vague concept to most people and all the current political leaders are likely to be dead. This is the whole problem with climate change its too far ahead for most of us to cope with and this makes it worse
- The fossil free pledge is too vague. Do what specifically by when in the intervening period?
- The fossil free pledge is too late. By 2115 we will by fried on current rates of progress.
- By 2115 there won’t be any fossil fuels left to speak of anyway.
One positive is that the idea of going fossil free has promoted some discussion. Professor Catherine Mitchell Professor of energy policy at Exeter University on the radio identified the main problems with going fossil free that we did in our book. That is materials and transport (although we would add renewable heat too). Lets face it this fossil free pledge doesn’t add up to a row of beans and we need some serious pledges before Paris.