PM accused of hypocrisy over claim that climate is ‘foremost priority’

The Guardian

Boris Johnson put the global climate crisis at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy on Tuesday (March 16), setting out his vision of “global Britain” after a government review placed climate as “the UK’s foremost international priority”.

The prime minister told MPs: “We will host Cop26 [climate summit] in Glasgow in November, and rally as many nations as possible behind the target of net zero [greenhouse gas emissions] by 2050, leading by example since the UK was the first major economy to accept this obligation in law.”

However, green campaigners questioned whether the prime minister’s rhetoric was matched by action, and accused him of “hypocrisy” over measures that could increase greenhouse gas emissions in the UK and overseas.

Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Political and financial support for coal, oil and gas needs to stop, at home and internationally, before the UK can congratulate itself on being a climate leader.”

Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa thinktank, said developing countries would watch the UK’s actions rather than “greenwash” statements. “When you actually look at what this government is doing it’s hard to take these claims seriously,” he said. “Approving the Cumbrian coalmine, the botched green homes grant scheme and very little on climate in the recent budget, while slashing the aid budget and backing a climate blocker to become the new boss of the OECD. Boris Johnson likes to talk about building back better. This is a unique opportunity to have a truly green recovery from Covid-19 but so far they are failing miserably to live up to that.”

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