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Remember - 14 Giga Tons

Simon Zadek blogs from Copenhagen
Simon Zadek
11 December 2009

Fighting through the hot air being vented in Copenhagen to understand the real numbers is an obligation, not just a ‘nice to do’. Project Catalyst, an international policy platform that I have been working with for over 18 months, has produced what I think is simply the best piece that crystallises the data in a document entitled ‘Taking Stock: the Emissions Levels Implied by the Current Proposals for Copenhagen’.

(I will post this document in the next day or so, or contact me at [email protected]) if you are in a hurry).

14GTs is what we have to mitigate by 2020 below ‘business as usual’ to have a 40-60% chance of keeping temperature rises below 2 degrees. This then is the magic number we have to make vanish, below which species disappear and whole eco-systems are predicted to collapse with unknown consequences.

The bottom line is that current proposals, if achieved at the high end, would deliver 9GT of abatement by 2020, whereas what we need is 14GTs less than ‘business as usual’. The low end of existing proposals would only deliver 4GTs less then business as usual by 2020, way off what is needed.

Waiting until later (2020-2030) to get emissions down is not a real option. The analysis shows that the cost of acting in this later period rather than now would be impossibly high given all the high-carbon investments we would have wired in over the next decade by failing to act now. The ‘wait until the technology is better and cheaper’ is a mirage we should not be fooled by.

So remember the number 14 (GTs), the level of credible mitigation commitments that are needed to be able to leave on 19th December with a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. Anything less and we have some explaining to do, notably to our children and grandchildren.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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