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Time to get serious!

August 6, 2021 6:10 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

hhae (Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash)Nobody would ever describe Boris Johnson as 'Mr Sensitivity', but his latest faux pas has hit a new low, even for him. As the Independent explains, the prime minister was reported to have chuckled as he said Britain owed its escape from reliance on coal energy to Margaret Thatcher's closure of the mines in the 1980s: Speaking during a visit to a wind-farm off the coast of Scotland, Mr Johnson said that the UK's dependence on coal for its electricity had fallen from 70-80 per cent in his childhood to less than one per cent now largely "thanks to" Lady Thatcher. "We've transitioned away from coal in my lifetime," he said. "Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, who closed so many coal mines across the country, we had a big early start and we're now moving rapidly away from coal altogether."

Leaving aside the lack of sensitivity to communities decimated by the destruction of the coal industry the idea that Mrs Thatcher took on the mining unions as an eco -warrior is patently nonsense, even more so as the country replaced coal with gas another fossil fuel

With under 100 days to go to the global climate conference in Glasgow that will be chaired by our Prime Minister you have to wonder whether all the fuss these comments have caused is a clever diversion tactic to hide the fact that he is failing to give leadership on this crucial issue

At the same time official figures revealed the number of trees planted fell last year. The Prime Minister made a manifesto pledge during the 2019 general election to plant more than 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of trees a year by 2024, in a bid to reach net zero by 2050. But figures released by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, show that just under 2,200 hectares of trees were planted in 2020/21 in England, down from 2,340 hectares the year before and just 14 per cent of its tree-planting target

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: "This is utterly humiliating for the Conservatives with fewer than 100 days until we host a crucial climate change summit.

"Johnson's Government failing to even hit its own modest target for tree-planting shows a total lack of leadership. We desperately need trees to allow wildlife to prosper and make our country a better, healthier place to live."

Green groups have highlighted the need for more trees to be planted in the UK to help boost biodiversity in the UK and absorb Carbon emissions.

At the same time Mr Johnson defended his government's efforts on reaching net zero by 2050, despite mounting criticism that the move away from fossil fuels was too slow and for giving the go ahead to new oil and gas projects in the North Sea in the same year it is supposed to calling on other countries to stop using fossil fuels.

None of this should be a suprise. Mr Johnson has a big failing. He likes to be liked!. Climate change actions require big decisions on how we move to electric cars, replace gas boilers, change eating habits, re-shape our national infrastructure, create green jobs etc etc. Some of this will be hard, not all of it popular. So far there is no evidence our Prime Minister is up to the task of leading the country through these changes