Mon 1 Nov, 2021

It may be one minute to midnight, but it feels like our Prime Minister has the snooze button on Caroline Lucas

Green parties across the UK have warned the UK Government lacks credibility on climate, as the COP26 summit kicks off in Glasgow.

Opening the Green HUB, a space for international green parties to gather in Glasgow for the next two weeks, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie was joined by Green Party of England and Wales MP Caroline Lucas and leader of the Northern Irish Greens Clare Bailey..

Patrick Harvie pointed to the fact the Scottish Conservatives are now increasingly “marginalised” in the Scottish Parliament on the future of oil and gas and aviation.

“When Boris Johnson potters around talking about bunny huggers, and some of the Tories in the Scottish Parliament use the same language, they have no sense of credibility, no sense of taking the issue seriously,” he said.

“We are shifting the political ground in Scotland, especially in the last few months when we took Greens into government for the first time. We will be shifting billions of pounds in this parliamentary session away from road building and into decarbonising our homes and buildings.

Caroline Lucas called last week’s budget statement a “climate free zone”.

She said: “What are we as Greens demanding our own UK Government do? Firstly, to walk the talk. It’s the first rule of diplomacy. Arriving at the G8 summit full of bluster about this being the last chance while at the same time pursuing policies at home that accelerate climate change is unlikely to persuade anyone.

“I’m pleased that Boris Johnson thinks it is one minute to midnight, quite right, but that’s less than compelling from a Prime Minister who is himself promoting the Cambo oil field off Shetland. It may be one minute to midnight, but it feels like our Prime Minister has the snooze button on.”

Clare Bailey MLA said Northern Ireland’s focus on power sharing and Brexit had meant it had fallen behind other UK nations in taking climate action. Promises of a new climate bill and environmental protections agency did not materialise, so Bailey has introduced her own climate legislation from the backbenches.

“There is no acknowledgement of a climate emergency,” she said.

“I believe Northern Ireland can be more ambitious, but when Boris Johnson talks about levelling up, the acknowledgement that we are on a separate landmass is not there.”

On the hopes for COP, Patrick Harvie said: “Whether we do or don’t get a deal at COP, the challenge in practical terms remains the same. That is to make the most rapid reduction in emissions as we can in this decade. It still means we need to redouble our efforts, then redouble them again. It still means we need a just transition for the communities who must not be left behind.”

Hosted by the Scottish Greens, the Hub was launched by the Green European Foundation and European Green party as a resource for Green delegates and activists during COP.

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