Thursday November 18th, 2021
It was always going to be tough to get some 200 nations in the world to agree to cut back on greenhouse emissions. And with China’s and Russia’s premiers not attending, expectations for success in Glasgow fell still lower.
But with COP still on, progress is being made. Although India won’t commit to achieve net-zero emissions until 2070, they will reduce economic emission intensity by 45 per cent come 2030.
However, countries generating 90% of the world’s economy will cut emissions to net zero by 2050, 88% of our most forested nations will eliminate deforestation by 2030, and over one hundred countries will cut methane and protect around a third of our oceans by 2030. Progress is not as fast as many would wish, but by most criteria, Glasgow has been a great success.
Most people had never heard of him before last week. Then in just 48 hours he became a cause célèbre .
Whether he was guilty of paid advocacy or not, the inquiry into his activities was seriously botched. Witnesses were not interviewed, factual errors appeared in the final report, the Commissioner said she thought he was guilty before the inquiry had even begun, and the Commissioner was both judge and jury with no right of appeal. Natural justice, this was not. If a judge had expressed such an opinion before a trial, he or she would have been taken off the case and possibly been dismissed by the Lord Chancellor.
So last week I voted for an inquiry to find a fairer system. It did not let Paterson off the hook, it merely delayed his punishment if he was guilty. The amendment, which was passed, set up an all party select committee to determine a fairer system.
Justice needed to be done and had to be seen to be done, but politics got in the way.
Within hours, despite an agreement having been made, Labour and other opposition parties announced they would not participate in the inquiry after all and cry “Tory sleaze” and other clichés instead. As that would have led to another vote concerning Paterson’s future, he chose to resign as an MP.
It had been a turbulent couple of days, but that amendment still stands. So with Owen Paterson’s resignation, perhaps now we can form that all-party committee and reform how MPs are judged. That reform is badly needed.