“I’ve always taken the view that we should save our resources […] so it’s about using less, wasting less… But also the innovation that we need to get the new technology that can help us do things better, whether that’s electric vehicles, whether that’s insulation in our homes, we can all act.”
There has been some criticism of how the country’s top politicians would tackle climate change:
Viewers of the Tory leadership contest could be forgiven for thinking the world isn’t in the grip of a climate emergency. Former chancellor Rishi Sunak and home secretary Liz Truss have been accused of a lack of ambition and knowledge on the subject in their exchanges on Monday evening, despite last week’s record UK temperatures. The climate crisis was spoken about for less than two minutes during the hour long programme, with more time dedicated to discussions on what clothes and jewellery the candidates were wearing.
Ms Truss highlighted food waste as “a particular problem”, and said she would end the green energy levy, which makes up between 9-12 per cent of energy bills and helps fund initiatives such as renewable energy projects or home insulation.
Mr Sunak said: “I take advice on this from my two young daughters who are the experts on this in our household.” Speaking about recycling he told viewers: “I know it’s a pain, you need lots of bins, but it is very good for the environment.” He also encouraged innovation to “solve the problem”.
But the candidates failed to tackle how road transport, fossil fuel-dependent energy and heating systems and agriculture – in particular meat and dairy production – are among the biggest sources of emissions in the UK.
Other comments have been more welcoming:
While the BBC debate mainly focused on inflation and the pair’s plans for taxes, Ms Truss, a former environment secretary, highlighted food waste as a “huge problem”, while Mr Sunak said recycling was one of the key steps people could take to tackle climate change.
Both candidates are signatories to the Conservative Environment Pledge, which was created by the Conservative Environment Network, an independent forum for conservatives who support conservation and decarbonisation. The pledge commits candidates to addressing environmental challenges by “delivering our 2050 net zero goal, halting the decline in nature by 2030, and tackling air and river pollution”.
The commitment included a pledge to implement the Environment Act, which will give ministers the power to introduce a range of waste reforms such as extended producer responsibility (EPR). This will be a welcome boost for many in the industry, who had felt the government had cold feet about implementing EPR during a cost of living crisis.
So, yes a little more than ‘just recycling’ – as the dispassionate DeSmog website reminds us:
During the 2022 leadership contest, Truss responded to a debate question — “what three things should people change in their lives to help tackle climate change?” — by saying: “I was an environmentalist before it was fashionable. I was a teenage eco-warrior campaigning against damage to the ozone layer”.
“I’ve always taken the view that we should save our resources […] so it’s about using less, wasting less, particularly food waste, which I think is, you know, a massive problem in this country. But also the innovation that we need to get the new technology that can help us do things better, whether that’s electric vehicles, whether that’s insulation in our homes, we can all act. But what I don’t want to see is ordinary households penalised by our net zero target, so I would lift the green energy levy and cut money from people’s fuel bills, whilst looking for better ways to deliver our net zero target.”
And don’t forget other aspects of the new PM’s CV:
In the meantime, what is the media reporting on what to expect of the new PM?
How will the new monarch’s approach complicate matters?
How will the attitude of the scientific community complicate matters?
How can we tell what the new PM’s approach will be?
And finally, what is the popular media saying?