Will 2020 Be the Year that Britain Shines?

It has been an eventful 2019, hasn’t it?

I can hear you saying, ‘Please don’t go there!’, and I don’t blame you a bit for saying it.

In the UK in 2019 the country lurched from one disaster to another, from weak politics, to floods, to yet another year of economic uncertainty, to troubles within both major political parties and miss-steps with Britain’s allies. It has been a mess.

Consequently, 2020 can only be better. YAY!

Still, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to have united the formerly disunited Conservative and Unionist Party which now sits at 365-seats strong — strong enough to pass almost any bill it wants — including a Brexit bill allowing the UK to leave the European Union on January 31, 2020 requiring the UK and the EU to agree a trade deal by December 31, 2020 (or a so-called ‘No Deal’ Brexit will occur, which isn’t the worst thing in the world, as WTO rules would automatically kick-in from that moment onwards until a trade deal between the two parties is signed) that will set the rules and regulations (and the tone) for all future trade between the UK and the EU.

So, yeah, it’s important. To both sides. Try not to screw it up!

What We’d Like to See in 2020

Here’s a short list of some of the non-Brexit legislation LetterToBritain would like to see passed in 2020 (that’s actually passed not jabbered about endlessly, but passed into law in 2020 to come into effect in 2021) that would make the UK stronger economically, environmentally, and militarily.

  1. Legislation requiring one tree planted in the UK per each new vehicle sold in the UK by 2021. For cars and trucks that get over 50-miles per gallon automakers need only to fund the planting of 1-tree per vehicle, but cars and trucks with worse mileage than that should be required to plant 2-trees per new vehicle sold. The thinking is this: One giant sequoia tree can remove and store as much as 1400 metric tons of CO2 — which, astonishingly, is equal to the entire lifetime CO2 footprint of an average American citizen. Check this out here. It must be said that Sequoia trees are the largest trees on planet Earth, but even a mature Douglas fir or Oak tree can capture and hold hundreds of tons of CO2, and that’s only counting the CO2 stored in the trunk and branches, not the root systems.
  2. Legislation requiring all ships to use clean power within UK waters by 2021. Ships should be connected to cleaner ‘shore power’ instead of idling their engines while tied-up at port, and legislation requiring all ships over 20-tons displacement to use battery or hydrogen power (or sail power) anytime they’re inside the UK’s 12-mile marine zone, and legislation requiring all Royal Navy ships to use biofuels (as is already done in the US Navy) or better, to use clean natural gas, or even cleaner hydrogen fuel, or battery power. Globally, all shipping represents just over 2% of CO2 emissions, which could be cut in half just by substituting biodiesel for bunker fuel. (It should be noted that older ships may not transition from bunker fuel or diesel fuel to biodiesel easily, as biofuel tends to degrade low-quality rubber seals and gaskets, therefore, some small amount of subsidy should be offered to shipbuilders and yachtbuilders in the UK to ensure that new ships are biofuel compatible)
  3. Legislation requiring 50/50 biofuel blended UK general aviation fuel and UK military aircraft fuel by 2021. Modern jet aircraft can burn biofuel with only minimal upgrades to rubber seals and gaskets. In fact, Boeing reports that because biofuels burn cleaner, engine maintenance costs fall due to less soot build-up and CO2 emissions can fall by up to 80% on civilian aircraft flights. And for the military, clean burning fuels like biofuels leave no smoke contrails behind the aircraft which is an important consideration to military aircraft survivability in combat zones! Sourcing biofuel is a little more challenging because at the moment, every drop of biofuel produced in the world is being sold to Brazil and to South Africa where cars burn a 50/50 biofuel blend or higher, and consequently, total car emissions are 45% lower — even without the (expensive) engine emissions control equipment seen on American and European cars. Biofuel burns much cleaner than the best grades of petroleum-based gasoline and diesel fuel as… wait for it… there’s no sulphur in biofuel! And as you may know, cobalt removes sulphur from petroleum-based gasoline (petrol) and diesel fuel and so much cobalt is used in the petroleum refining process that it requires almost all the cobalt produced on the Earth. All battery production (all types of batteries, everywhere on the Earth) use only a fraction of the global total cobalt production, although the media rarely covers this aspect of cobalt production and demand.
  4. Legislation requiring all UK senior citizens pensions to be topped-off to a minimum of £1200. per month via the reverse-income tax method (and if their private or government pension plan doesn’t already include these three benefits) they should also receive free medical, free dental and free prescription medications. Any senior trying to survive on less than that bare minimum amount + those three benefits will simply cost the healthcare system, food banks, and their families hundreds or thousands of pounds annually. And today’s UK seniors deserve to live better lives than that! Seniors built the great UK we see today and they did it without the internet, smartphones, the comprehensive social safety net (which still needs improvement) and they did it with far lower labour standards. And worse than that. Toss in a couple of wars, a few recessions, an overburdened NHS and a scale of change that they lived through unlike anything seen since the Industrial Revolution and it’s safe to say they’ve earned it. So let’s show them our respect by helping UK seniors to live out their last few years a little more comfortably.

Wishing All of You a Safe, Happy and Prosperous New Year!

No matter which side of Brexit you were on, regardless of which political party you favoured in the 2019 election, and regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or anything that could be construed by Britain’s critics as a way to divide us… there is simply much more that unites us than divides us. May that ever be the case.

Wishing all of you an enjoyable New Years’ celebration and a happy and prosperous 2020!

Written by John Brian Shannon

John Brian

John Brian

John Brian Shannon serves on the Editorial Board at kleef&co. John has contributed to the United Nations Development Program and to corporate blogs. Presently writing about Brexit at: LetterToBritain.com