Climate Change, Comment

Boris Johnson’s lack of climate care.

As the world prepared to witness the COP26 United Nations climate summit in Glasgow this year, I eagerly sat waiting for what our own prime minister was going to put forward.

After years of denial and refusal to acknowledge the ever-increasing seriousness of climate change, Boris Johnson finally had the opportunity to rectify his previous mistakes and push the country forward with hope and a plan for change. Did he do that? Of course not.

Before the conference began this November, Johnson had already been seen to describe the U.N. report from climate scientists as “sobering reading” due to its statements about there being very limited time to get global warming under control. This is one of the few times in which Johnson has actually acknowledged climate change and even implied his support in helping. This is incredibly interesting when you look at Johnson’s previous statistics, with his government vowing to reach net-zero emissions by 2025 yet all their strategies have been pulled to a stop or delayed according to the Climate Change Committee. So, this gradual support which has been implied by a couple of, what now seems empty, comments about the climate situation was a promising move from Johnson ahead of his COP26 talks.

This hope for the summit was very much needed following Rishi Sunak’s budget speech which concluded there does not need to be any urgency surrounding climate issues. He did not even use the phrase “climate change” once in his speech, and he only alluded to environmental matters in the third address to MPS around 40 minutes into the speech. As this climate crisis worsens, supporting and aiding in climate action must no longer be an afterthought to settle those concerned but at the forefront of our government’s own concern. Therefore, Boris Johnson’s implications of a successful COP26 outcome certainly increased my thoughts and hopes on how the summit was going to do.

However, without even going into the odd and unnecessary James Bond reference of a “doomsday” situation, Boris Johnson’s speech at the UN summit was disappointing. One of the most concerning parts of his speech was his ignorant interpretation of global warming, “the retreat of the ice towards the North Pole … will offer opportunities not just for China but actually also for ourselves … parts of Scotland will become potentially very important for sea traffic of a clean, green variety.” This comment clearly shows Johnson’s lack of genuine care for the environment and its crisis. I believe this perspective demonstrates the absence of a thought process from our prime minister, with him viewing the rising temperatures and the melting of the ice caps as a cause for “opportunity”. It is a statement that lacks seriousness and urgency, while also providing false hope for our country. No one will be around to benefit from these “opportunities” when we are underwater…

But, of course, actions can speak louder than words. The number of COP-related meetings Boris Johnson has attended until March can be counted on one hand. And you don’t have to look very far from the summit to see Johnson’s devastating lack of climate care, with him flying from Glasgow to London after warning world leaders to reduce their emissions.

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Lauren Bramwell

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November 2021
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