What goals do you want to achieve at the Glasgow Summit?
We have four main goals. First, we would like to invite all states to divide their long-term strategies to achieve carbon neutrality. The second goal is to agree to help countries that are already feeling the effects of climate change.
Third, there must be improvement in funding. Some countries that are poor and vulnerable will need our support. Under the Paris Agreement, developed countries have pledged to create a financial mechanism by 2020 to provide at least $ 100 billion a year to protect climate in developing countries. So make sure this money is available.
However, at the same time, it is necessary for everyone in the world to determine the financial plan, whether it is the Czech finance minister or the director of the bank, to include climate change in their plan. We estimate that in addition to those hundreds of billions of dollars from the public sector, we will receive trillions of dollars from private investors.
The ultimate goal is to deepen international cooperation in key areas necessary to achieve carbon neutrality. The overall purpose of the summit is to demonstrate that the world is moving towards an irreversible and low carbon economy.
It has not been long since the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement. Can it be prevented from happening again?
If someone ten or twenty years ago wanted to reduce emissions, you also wanted them to sacrifice a part of economic growth. In other words, it is really a transition between economy and environmental protection. Now the opposite is true. If you want your economy to grow fast, you need to green it. In addition, the approval of all 197 countries is not required. When the EU, UK, US and China operate, they are the ones who set the rules for half of the cars sold worldwide.
Can you give some examples of why the green economy is so favorable?
The price of solar energy has dropped by 85 percent in the last decade. In this decade, we expect it to fall by another 85 percent. So solar energy will be the cheapest energy of mankind. Even in the United States, coal consumption is declining faster under Trump than under the Obama administration. Coal can no longer compete with new, cheaper technologies. So not only is it important to protect the environment, it is also important. Renewable resources also have economic benefits.
Britain has promised to ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines from 2030. But electric cars aren’t flawless, especially when there should be hundreds of millions. How do you plan to recycle such a large amount of batteries?
The world that grew up in the late 1970s and late 1980s was too scared to leave oil. According to the predictions of economists at the time, this must have happened many years ago. In the end, I think a Saudi minister said the oil era would not end because he left oil. After all, the Stone Age is not over because the Stone is gone. In short, we switched to more modern technology because it was better. The same is true of electric cars. They are the best and in two to three years they will be cheap.
But is there enough lithium in the world and other elements needed to produce them?
I was an ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, which holds about 65 percent of the world’s cobalt reserves. From personal experience, I know that when his products were compromised, laboratories were able to develop new batteries from low levels of cobalt.
We can count on science to deal with issues like this. History proves that it has always been so. In addition, each technology has its disadvantages. Internal combustion engines are more than just electricity and relying on them can be detrimental to our economy in the long run.
Your country has left the EU. A new coal mine is set to open in the northwest of the UK, lowering taxes on domestic flights… Do you think Britain is a reliable partner in the fight against climate change?
Yes, we want to be a world leader in mitigating the impact of climate change. We have a long history of scientific climate research. For example, we are the world ‘s largest producer of energy from sea wind turbines. We believe that a carbon-free economy will provide many business opportunities and be a source of economic growth. Britain is a very reliable partner. Our withdrawal from the EU will not change that. We are still a European country with European values.
As for the Cumbria coal mine you mentioned, the private company wanted to open it, not the British government.
How can a small market like the Czech Republic contribute to the current transformation of the economy? Can you think of specific business opportunities that this will bring?
It doesn’t matter if you are young or old. We can all reduce our emissions, which will help the economy as well. Of course there will be many opportunities, but they will be different in each country.
What are you most worried about in the context of the upcoming summit?
The economic trends I am talking about have already taken place. But how fast do they have to go. Current state strategic plans to reduce emissions are not ambitious enough. Together we must accelerate our efforts to achieve the set goals. This will be one of the most difficult tasks of this year’s conference.
John Murton (49)
- He holds a PhD in Economics from the prestigious University of Cambridge.
- He was also the main co-ordinator of British climate diplomacy at the UN General Assembly in Glasgow in November. He is also the UK Ambassador to the Climate Conference 2021.
- In the past, he has served as ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Mauritius and Madagascar.