Energy co-op Bhesco slams ‘dashed hopes’ of COP28 climate summit

The Brighton and Hove co-op criticised ‘a watered-down call for countries to move away from fossil fuels but not to phase them out’

Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative (Bhesco) has hit out at the COP28 UN climate summit, saying it “ended with yet more dashed hopes for a rapid phasing out of the use of fossil fuels”.

A blog post on the co-op’s website added: “What we have instead is a watered-down call for countries to move away from fossil fuels but not to phase them out.

“This is despite the official text of COP28 recognising ‘the need for deep, rapid and sustained reductions if humanity is to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels’.

“Maybe we are witnessing the beginning of the end for fossil fuels but for many climate experts it’s way too little, far too late.”

The co-op also criticised the government’s response to the climate crisis.

“Rishi Sunak appears to think it’s acceptable to spend more time travelling to and from COP28 in his private jet than he did at the actual event,” it said. “In the middle of crucial negotiations, he also called Graham Stuart, the UK’s climate minister, back to the UK for a key vote in Parliament on the government’s Rwanda bill.

“Ironically, mass migration will only increase as the effects of climate change make vast areas of the world effectively uninhabitable.”

The co-op accused ministers of repeatedly rowing back on net zero targets and “perfectly workable carbon reduction initiatives”. starting with the 2013 decision by David Cameron to ditch green policies. Bhesco says this “left UK households highly exposed to soaring gas prices and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine“.

It also criticised the axeing in in 2021 of Boris Johnson’s flagship Green Home Grants scheme, designed to help householders insulate their homes and install low carbon heating, after six months.

“There just doesn’t seem to be the required level of commitment from our government for net zero initiatives,” added the co-op – urging people to take matters into their own hands to work with the community energy sector “to collectively bring about effective change“.