Furious caller clashes with climate scientists over 'pointless' net zero targets

18 July 2022, 17:35 | Updated: 18 July 2022, 17:49

By Fiona Jones

This furious caller told climate change experts there is "no point" in the UK attempting to reach net zero emissions by 2050 - and this is their response.

The conversation on climate change came after a poll found that only 4% of Tory members consider achieving net zero emissions by 2050 a priority for their new party leader.

Caller Steve from Sutton backed this stance, claiming "it makes no difference" if UK attempts to hit net zero targets when countries such as India and China and "other big polluters carry on ploughing the course that they're on."

"All we're going to do is make the general population poorer and more miserable," he told LBC's Eddie Mair, "we are such a small emitter globally that any changes we make...it's not going to make any odds globally."

Chief political strategist for the UN climate convention Tom Rivett-Carnac responded: "If every country in the world applied the logic that Steve was just putting forward, then we're going to cook the climate, lose nature, have enormous human suffering in the short term.

"If instead we can...come together and try to do a big thing collectively, then we can get on top of this."

Mr Rivett-Carnac pointed out that 43% of Chinese power comes from renewables: "They are doing an enormous amount and they're really trying to transform their economy.

"The reason that the emissions of many of these countries are so high is because we have outsourced the manufacturing of all of the stuff we use to those countries...it's made in those countries and counts as part of their emissions.

"We do have a responsibility, it is meaningful both in the absolute terms and in our leadership to get on top of this and shows the way."

Caller Steve doubled down that China and India are still huge emitters and UK net-zero emissions by 2050 is "frankly unachievable" and "doesn't matter."

Political economy professor Michael Jacobs responded that China has made much more headway than the UK in creating renewable substitutes, explaining that their emissions are large because the country is large.

"India is now experiencing huge pressure from the rest of the world. At COP26...China and India both came under huge pressure from the rest of the world and they've both announced before the conference new targets to reach net-zero.

"They would never have done that if we didn't have the Paris Agreement.

"It is important that we act so we can apply pressure on others."

The caller claimed that "it's not going to happen" because climate activists and scientists "aren't making it resonate with the man in the street."

More Eddie Mair

Eddie Mair's heated row with Sir Iain Duncan-Smith on cost of living measures

Eddie Mair's heated row with Sir Iain Duncan Smith on cost of living measures

Where to seek help if you're impacted by the cost of living crisis

Where to seek help if you're impacted by the cost of living crisis

Eddie Mair scrutinises Tory MP who backs Liz Truss over her stance 'on woke'

Eddie Mair scrutinises Tory MP who backs Liz Truss over her stance 'on woke'

Eddie Mair lists Ministers with the power to oust Boris Johnson

Eddie Mair lists Ministers with the power to oust Boris Johnson

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

'Horrific': LBC listeners reveal chilling experiences of stalking

'Scotland is inept': Scottish caller furious over idea of IndyRef 2

'Scotland is inept': Scottish caller outraged at idea of IndyRef 2

Texas Republican: Ensuring doors work properly will stop school shootings

Texas Republican: Ensuring doors work properly will stop school shootings

'You don't need a crystal ball!': Furious Eddie Mair corners Tory MP on cost of living crisis

'You don't need a crystal ball!': Furious Eddie Mair corners Tory MP on cost of living crisis

Exclusive
Kremlin chaos: Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws regime in disarray

Putin 'constantly surrounded by doctors' as illness throws Kremlin into chaos

Tory MP: 'Oil companies have a cartel monopoly' over consumers

Tory MP: 'Oil companies have a cartel monopoly' over consumers

Jack Monroe slams Tory MP's 'abhorrent' food bank comments

Jack Monroe slams Tory MP's 'abhorrent' food bank comments

Tory MP accuses peer of 'hyperbole' over anti-protest bill concerns

Tory MP accuses peer of 'hyperbole' over anti-protest bill concerns

'Prime Minister in waiting!' Starmer saluted after Covid fine resignation pledge

'Prime Minister in waiting!' Starmer saluted after Covid fine resignation pledge

From Covid infection to being fined: Eddie Mair's painstaking timeline on partygate and Boris

From Covid infection to the fine: Eddie Mair's painstaking timeline on partygate and Boris

Partygate fines: Eddie Mair grills Tory MP Sir Roger Gale over PM future

Partygate fines: Eddie Mair grills Tory MP over PM's future

'He set the rules and broke them!' Eddie Mair's tense clash with caller defending PM

'He set the rules and broke them!' Eddie Mair's tense clash with caller defending PM