‘The green nirvana wealthy countries instruct developing nations to adopt is a sham’

Your digest of analysis from the British and international press

Wind turbines
(Image credit: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. The rich world’s climate hypocrisy

Bjorn Lomborg in The Wall Street Journal

on the energy crisis

Developed countries’ response to the global energy crisis has put their “hypocritical attitude toward fossil fuels on display”, writes Bjorn Lomborg in The Wall Street Journal. “Wealthy countries admonish developing ones to use renewable energy,” meanwhile Europe and the US “are begging Arab nations to expand oil production”, with Italy and Spain “spending big on African gas production”. The developed world gained its wealth “through the pervasive use of fossil fuels”, and they still provide more than three-quarters of these countries’ energy. And rather than give developing countries “the tools that have helped rich nations develop, wealthy countries blithely instruct developing nations to skip coal, gas and oil, and go straight to a green nirvana of solar panels and wind turbines”, says Lomborg. The “promised paradise is a sham built on wishful thinking and green marketing”. Wealthier nations “should do the sensible thing and invest meaningfully in the innovation needed” to make green energy efficient and cheap.

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2. Voters won’t forgive our failed ruling class for plunging the UK into chaos

Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph

on a looming ‘reckoning’

The UK’s “ruling class has retreated to fantasy island”, says Sherelle Jacobs in The Telegraph. The country is facing “an onslaught of crises of historic proportions”, Britain’s politics is “imploding” and Boris Johnson, says Jacobs, “is now reviled as the epitome of elite complacency”. But “nothing much appears to be amiss” in the “world of the British elite”. The “prevailing wisdom seems to be” that we will “muddle through”. The government’s response to rail strikes “has been to repeat the old mantra that Labour is in bed with the unions”, but this is “the latest predictable chapter in the Tory reign of gloom”. And Labour is not “much better”, she says. “While our political class is inert and incompetent, the state bureaucracy is gripped by groupthink.” Jacobs thinks “this will not just be a summer of discontent”, and it is “likely that the British ruling class will face a reckoning, an outpouring of political fury, not dissimilar to what is happening in France”.

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3. Juneteenth reminds us to think about economic freedom, not just legal liberty

Peter Coy in The New York Times

on racial inequality

“For African Americans, the end of legalized slavery in the United States was the beginning of freedom – but only the beginning,” writes Peter Coy in The New York Times. A proclamation by a Union general in Texas on 19 June 1865 makes “clear” the “incompleteness of their liberation”. It indicates “that the ‘absolute equality’ that formerly enslaved people were promised wasn’t absolute after all”. They had legal freedom, “maybe, but not economic freedom”. The Juneteenth holiday “is an occasion for people of all races to think about their lives and their societies”, says Coy. “What is freedom, really?” Now, 157 years after the Juneteenth proclamation, “what hasn’t changed” is that “a majority of African Americans continue to lack wealth”. A Federal Reserve survey in 2019 found that the median wealth of black families was $24,100 compared to $142,5000 for white families. Freedom, including economic freedom, “is just as important now as it was” back in 1865.

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4. Who is watching the watchmen of the United Kingdom?

David Allen Green at Al Jazeera

on an ‘ancient and modern problem’

The problem “every constitutional order – ancient and modern, and real or imagined – has to address” is “who is watching the watchmen”, writes legal commentator David Allen Green at Al Jazeera. Solutions “are invariably elusive”. In the UK, the office of prime minister is “hardly recognised in law” and its powers “come from the confluence of what flows” from the “royal prerogative” and “the supremacy of parliament”. A sitting prime minister “in command of both government and parliament has therefore the greatest gift that the constitution of the UK can bestow”. But “various devices” have been tried to “keep this absolute power from corrupting the executive absolutely”, one being the “so-called ‘Ministerial Code’” and its “own specialist adviser”. But that code “like the adviser, is a creature of the prime minister”. The resignation last week of the adviser, Christopher Geidt, “should have been a political sensation” and “raised an alarm”. But Boris Johnson “in effect, just shrugged”. So “the ancient and modern problem endures: how do you guard against those in power?”

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5. Schools should allow girls to choose between skirts and trousers – and consult parents

Darren Lewis in The Mirror

on dress codes

The Mirror’s Darren Lewis says he has received a consultation letter. It’s a “blueprint” laying out changes to school uniform rules at his children’s school “that will do away with skirts and order all girls to join boys in wearing trousers”. The parents’ WhatsApp group “has been pinging off the hook with angry mums and dads determined to voice their concerns”. “Hundreds” of girls “don’t want” the rule change. Some “would prefer to retain their femininity”. Some feel skirts “offer far more privacy than trousers” during their periods. And for “body image”, skirts can “be much easier than trousers for girls who are feeling uncomfortable”. Some schools are “honest enough to put their cards on the table and admit” that the rule change is “in the name of inclusivity”. It’s “to be applauded on the one hand”. But “it has to work for everybody”. Parents, says Lewis, should be included in the decision-making process. Otherwise the WhatsApp group “fire” will continue.

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