As Boris Johnson pushes UN on climate tour, deadly energy crisis grips UK
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson did his best today to convey the dangers of climate change at the United Nations and take up the mantle for small countries seeking financial aid from the big polluters. At a special meeting of the smaller countries on the sidelines Monday, he was the only major world leader to show up.
But a growing energy crisis at home in the UK threatens to derail his efforts, and could cast a shadow over the UN’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in six weeks. A Europe-wide shortage of natural gas because of pipe shutdowns has caused prices to rise more than 70% in the past few weeks.
Britain, which derives the majority of its electricity from imported natural gas, is in particular trouble, with as many as a half dozen large energy providers likely to need a bailout in coming weeks, and the possibility the government will need to find a way to pay for heat for millions this winter.
In UK politics, where government-owned utilities vs. privatization and market forces is always a major arguing point, potential need for bailouts is a blow to the Johnson government and couldn’t be more ill-timed. In coming days, the crisis and accompanying protests around it could threaten the potential for any progress at the COP26 summit, already itself in deep trouble.
It will not be lost on the island nations and smaller countries pleading for financial aid to fight global warming that the wealthiest nations they are depending on suddenly have more pressing things to worry about. Again.
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