Why Boris Johnson Can Lecture On The Rest Of The Climate Conference

As the host country for the climate summit, the UK wants to show leadership on the international stage. In the run-up to COP26, the British government laid out ambitious national targets for greening. Wind energy plays a crucial role in this. “The Saudi Arabia of Wind Power” is Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s motto. Not just because it’s better for the environment; also because it creates jobs and economic growth.

For the first time in a long time, the British Prime Minister made a no-joke speech. Even when the British found themselves en masse in traffic jams in front of the petrol pump and found empty shelves in the supermarket, it managed to make them laugh. This time there was no humor in his message when he addressed the G20 leaders in Rome on Sunday about the climate.

First country with ‘net zero’

“There are no excuses for procrastination,” he said. “We are already seeing the devastation caused by climate change, from heat waves and droughts to wildfires and hurricanes.” Grade 1.5 should remain within reach, the prime minister emphasized. “When this climate summit fails, all else fails.”

Johnson, who organizes the climate summit in Glasgow, demands that world leaders set far-reaching targets to reduce their emissions. But do you have the right to expect that from other countries? The answer is yes: your government is putting forward green plans that go far beyond what most right-wing leaders in the world are pursuing, including the Dutch government.

And with that, Johnson continues in the direction set in motion by his political predecessors. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to net zero purpose and established it in law. Former Prime Minister David Cameron planted more windmills about ten years ago than his own Conservative party believed necessary at the time.

Johnson, who is known as a political ‘opportunist’ who knows better than anyone how to hook traditional left Labor voters, is familiar with recent opinion polls: More than 56 percent of Britons want the government to do more to be green. This, combined with a political strategy described by the term ‘boosterism’ (the penchant for pumping money into large-scale transportation projects) has led to high ambitions in his government plans.

Long tradition of environmental activism

Wind power is central to the goal of providing green electricity to the entire country by 2035. The Siemens Garmesa plant in the northern city of Hull is a much-cited example of how an investment in green technology can also provide economic growth to regions. poorer.

The factory recently received $ 186 million to expand further. Director Andy Skys said: “It is not just the 1,000 jobs here at the factory, but all the supply chains that go with it that are creating job opportunities for the region.” The director proudly points to the 81-meter-long windmill blade with about twenty men working behind him. “One hit from such a wick can power a house throughout the day.”

But investing heavily in green technology is not enough, says climate expert Tom Burke. He heads the E3G think tank and previously advised the UK government on climate policy. “No one doubts the current prime minister’s personal motivation to go green. His family has a long tradition of environmental activism and his current wife is famous for it. The question is whether he can live up to that and turn it into government policy. “So nobody is left out. And there are doubts about it among the experts,” says Burke. “It is about his competence as a politician, not his conviction as a person.”

The technology is there, now a good policy is still needed

Investing in green technology should go hand in hand with investing in a social transition, Burke explains. “The great social changes that await us must be controlled by the government. We must train and recycle people so that no one is left without work. I have not seen any plan for that yet, and that is dangerous because if you are socially Yes not it takes everyone, there will always be people who object out of fear of losing their income. “

And that’s an issue that, according to Burke, is global. The technology is there, but now it is up to world leaders to translate it into good policy.

Correspondent Fleur Launspach also spoke with Prime Minister Johnson’s father, climate activist Stanley Johnson, for this story:

Vince Fernandez

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