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Brexit will not lead to Mad Max-style world, says David Davis

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David Davis hopes to calm fears of Brexit triggering a “race to the bottom” in production standards in a speech on Tuesday.

The Brexit Secretary will declare that leaving the EU will instead create a “race to the top in global standards”.

Speaking in Vienna, Austria, as part of a series of speeches designed as a PR blitz on Brexit, he is set to say the concerns are “borrowed from dystopian fiction”.

Some critics have raised concerns that quitting the single market could see a drop in food standards – such as chlorinated chickens and milk containing antibiotics being part of a US trade deal.

David Davis
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David Davis is due to give a speech in Vienna

He will say some critics “fear that Brexit could lead to an Anglo-Saxon race to the bottom. With Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction”.

“These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing, not history, not intention, nor interest.”

Mr Davis will add: “While I profoundly disagree with them. It does remind us all that we must provide reassurance.”

Raw  butchered chicken in queue
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Critics fear quitting the single market could see a drop in food standards. Pic file

He will present the Government’s view as part of a case for a Free Trade Agreement with the EU after Brexit day – saying he is “certain” a good deal can be achieved.

“The agreement we strike will not be about how to build convergence but what to do when one of us wants to make changes to rules,” Mr Davis is expected to tell business leaders.

“Neither side should put up unnecessary barriers during this process.”

He will add that the deal requires “close, even-handed cooperation between these authorities and a common set of principles to guide them”.

Responding, Labour MP and supporter of the pro-EU group Open Britain Chuka Umunna branded Mr Davis’ trailed speech “utterly lacking in any content or vision”.

Chuka Umunna in Millbank studio.
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Chuka Umunna said the speech was ‘utterly lacking in any content’

He said: “David Davis insists that Brexit won’t mean a race to the bottom on everything from workers’ rights to environmental standards but not everyone around the Cabinet table agrees with him.

“Theresa May has repeatedly failed to rule out scrapping working time regulations, Boris Johnson wants to get rid of the Social Chapter and Liam Fox says he’s in favour of importing chlorinated chicken from the United States.”

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable added Mr Davis “might as well be making the case for staying in the EU”.

He said: “It’s the Boris Johnson school of having the cake and eating it, which we already know is unrealistic.”

It comes after speeches by Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

Mrs May announced she wanted a new security treaty with the EU – and said she would “respect” the remit of the European Court of Justice when Britain participated in its agencies.

Mr Johnson set out his pitch for “the great liberal project of the age”. And he refused to rule out quitting this year.

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ISS forced to move to avoid collision with space junk | Science & Tech News

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station had to carry out an “avoidance manoeuvre” to prevent it from being hit by space junk, NASA has said.

Its trajectory was changed to move it further away from the “unknown piece of space debris”, the US space agency wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

The three crew members – two Russians and an American – relocated to their Soyuz spacecraft attached to the ISS during the operation, so they could evacuate if necessary.



Venus planet







How scientists found signs of life on Venus

Experts expected the space junk to pass within “several kilometres” of the ISS, but decided to move it “out of an abundance of caution”.

Russian and US flight controllers worked together to adjust the station’s orbit in an operation which took minutes.

The crew were able to continue with their regular activities after the manoeuvre was complete.

NASA said the crew were not in danger at any time.

More from International Space Station

“Maneuver Burn complete. The astronauts are coming out of safe haven,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter.



Southern lights from the ISS







Southern lights (and UFOs at the end?)

It is the third time this year the International Space Station (ISS) has had to manoeuvre to avoid space debris, he said.

He tweeted: “In the last 2 weeks, there have been 3 high concern potential conjunctions. Debris is getting worse!”

Astronomer Jonathon McDowell, at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, tweeted the unknown object was a part of a 2018 Japanese rocket which broke into 77 pieces last year.

The ISS is orbiting around 260 miles (420km) above the Earth, travelling at a speed of about 17,130mph (27,568km/h).

At this velocity, even a small object has the ability to cause serious damage to the space station.

NASA has said these kinds of manoeuvres occur on a regular basis, with 25 having occurred between 1999 and 2018.

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China emissions pledge could help the world avoid climate catastrophe, says top diplomat | UK News

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Catastrophic climate change could be avoided because of China’s promise to be carbon neutral by 2060, the UK’s climate diplomat has told Sky News.

John Murton – who is the UK’s envoy for climate summit COP26 – says although the details need to be examined, he hopes other countries will now follow China’s lead to reduce their emissions.

“It’s a really important thing that China has made this commitment as there’s no way that the world would be able to meet Paris goals of keeping temperature rise to no more than 2C – and as close to 1.5C – if China hadn’t made this sort of commitment,” he said.



Chinese President Xi Jinping is pictured in his pre-recorded UN address







China pledges carbon neutrality by 2060

“So in that sense, it’s good news. We need to learn the details but what it does is tell other big emitters that these sorts of reductions are possible.”

Mr Murton said China’s pledge is a “positive thing” for the COP26 conference, which is due to be held in Glasgow next November, as it could persuade other nations to make similar targets.

China is the world’s worst polluter, but in a virtual speech at the United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping said his country would be carbon neutral by 2060 and achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.

It is the first time China has said it will end its net contribution to climate change.

But it is not just its domestic reliance on fossil fuels that environmentalists say needs to be cleaned up.

John Murton is the UK's climate diplomat
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John Murton is the UK’s climate diplomat

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says China spent more than $1tn (£786bn) on foreign infrastructure. Over the last few years, the majority of that is thought to involve fossil fuels.

And it has coal projects in at least 28 countries totalling over $50bn (£39bn), according to global coal finance tracker EndCoal.org.

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics said: “A big majority of their investments in energy infrastructure would be in fossil fuels, coal and oil and gas, but what we must hope now is that given that China has changed its ambitions, upped its ambitions for emissions within China, that it will apply the same logic outside.

“China’s investments internationally should follow the same principles of China’s investments inside China and China has made statements to the effect that they will be – that China’s investments outside China will be sustainable but that is something that will now be tested.”

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Asteroid the size of a bus to hurtle past Earth closer than satellites tomorrow, NASA says | Science & Tech News

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An asteroid the size of a bus is set to pass Earth at a distance closer than both the Moon and satellites, according to NASA.

The asteroid, named 2020 SW, will fly past 13,000 miles (22,000 kilometres) above the Earth’s surface.

This distance means it will be closer than both the Moon and satellites – used for GPS, television and weather – that orbit our plan.

An illustration of an asteroid. File pic
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After passing, the asteroid will continue its orbit around the sun

The rock was only discovered on 18 September by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona.

It is estimated to be around five to 10 metres (15 to 30ft) wide, making it equivalent to the “size of a small school bus”.

Further observations carried out by astronomers identified a trajectory which ruled out any chance of the asteroid colliding with Earth.

“Although it’s not on an impact trajectory with Earth, if it were, the space rock would almost certainly break up high in the atmosphere, becoming a bright meteor known as a fireball,” the space agency said.

After the asteroid passes at noon, UK time, it will continue its journey around the sun.

This means it will not pass Earth again until 2041, where it will be a greater distance away from the planet.

Although the minor planet’s passing will not be visible to the naked eye, people with 12-inch telescopes should be able to spot it.

The passing will also be streamed in a live video feed broadcast by the Virtual Telescope Project.

Paul Chodas, a director at NASA’s Jet Propulsions Laboratory, said: “There are a large number of tiny asteroids like this one, and several of them approach our planet as close as this several times every year.

“In fact, asteroids of this size impact our atmosphere at an average rate of about once every year or two.”

There are believed to be more than 100 million small asteroids, similar to 2020 SW. However, they are hard to discover until they get very close to Earth.

Larger asteroids, which hold a greater threat if they did collide with Earth, can be detected while further away because they are brighter than small ones.

On 20 August, an asteroid made the closest fly-by of Earth ever recorded. At the time, NASA admitted it had not seen it until after it passed.

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