This election is the climate election. It’s our last chance to radically change course, or face the threat of a hostile and dying planet.
What you might not know, however, is that this Tory cabinet has a history of denying and downplaying the impact of climate change…
1. Andrea Leadsom
As Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, it’s Andrea Leadsom’s job to spearhead the UK’s charge to reduce carbon emissions. You might think that believing in climate change is a pre-requisite for fighting it – but when Ms. Leadsom was appointed Energy Minister in 2015 she reportedly had to ask if it was real…
Energy minister Andrea Leadsom told a parliamentary fracking group that she had to ask whether climate change was real when she took the job.The Independent, October 2015
2. Michael Gove
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has branded himself a born-again green warrior following a stint as Environment Secretary under Theresa May. Yet as Education Secretary he attempted to axe climate change from the school curriculum, with his spokesperson dismissing climate science as “a particular political or ideological point of view”.
Headteachers who brainwash children with green propaganda are breaking the law, Michael Gove has suggested.
The Education Secretary has read ‘with concern’ a report which accused ‘activist’ teaching staff of trying to turn pupils into ‘foot soldiers of the green movement’. […]The Daily Mail, April 2014
A spokesman for Mr Gove said: ‘The Secretary of State read this report with concern.
‘Schools should not teach that a particular political or ideological point of view is right – indeed it is against the law for them to do so.’
Michael Gove has abandoned plans to drop climate change from the geography national curriculum.The Guardian, July 2013
3. Jacob Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg was famously branded “the honourable member for the 17th century” by one business CEO, and he lives up to his nickname when it comes to climate science. In the past Mr. Rees Mogg – who has substantial investments in oil and coal mining companies through his firm Somerset Capital Management – has slammed “climate alarmism” and argued that the causes of climate change continue to be “much debated”.
“Climate change alarmism caused our high energy prices… It is widely accepted that carbon dioxide emissions have risen but the effect on the climate remains much debated…”The Telegraph, 23 October 2013
4. Boris Johnson
Never wanting to be outdone, Boris Johnson himself has a sketchy record on climate science. While climate change has hardly featured on his government’s agenda, it’s his earlier comments that provide cause to worry – with the now-PM referring to global warming as a “primitive fear” that is “without foundation” in a 2015 Telegraph column.
“It is fantastic news that the world has agreed to cut pollution and help people save money, but I am sure that those global leaders were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear – as far as I understand the science – is equally without foundation.”Boris Johnson, The Telegraph, December 2015
The facts are clear – Boris Johnson and the Tories have spent years denying the science on climate change. We can’t trust them to act on the biggest challenge of our time.