Do the Government’s climate objectives really matter? Yes! But not to them.

Social IssuesEnvironment

  • Author Benjamin Snowden
  • Published March 31, 2022
  • Word count 835

Do the Government’s climate objectives really matter? Yes! But not to them.

Before I start this article I would like to foreshadow for you its following contents much like Shakespeare at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet. Although I don't foreshadow two star crossed lovers taking their lives, I do say the Government's distant relationship with the climate emergency could spell an unfortunate Romeo and Juliet type ending.

Trees. Those things we walk past every now and again. Quite pleasant I hope you agree. There is not much debate as to whether they are good for the environment either. Don't just take my word for it. The woodland trust called trees ``Our biggest weapon in the fight against climate change”. They would say that but relevant nonetheless.

In fact a flight from London to Paris would require 0.4 of a tree to offset the carbon emissions released by the plane according to the best known C02 emissions calculator. In addition 400+ tonnes carbon per hectare, is how much a young wood with mixed native species can lock up in trees, roots and soil. Effective If you ask me.

So what is the Government doing about this? Well last year the Government planted 4.2million trees, something Boris Johnson if asked about would call a fantastic achievement. However, as ambitious and great as this sounds, the Government’s target is to plant 30 million trees every year ( 4.2 million is less than 14% of their target).

However we really shouldn't be surprised. Especially with the Conservatives track record. In their 2019 manifesto they outlined their ambitions which included insulating all homes to level C by 2030. To do this the government will have to insulate One million homes a year however only 110,000 homes had been insulated last year. Hence sparking the ‘Insulate Britain’ protests. Not only would Insulating One million homes a year help in our fight against climate change, It would also have helped people pay their bills due to the insulation reducing the cost of bills. Don't just take my word for it, listen to Chris Stark, head of the UK's Climate Change Committee telling the BBC that he rates government policy on insulation as "very poor".

Having said all this I am not blind to the fact that the world has faced a global pandemic. I appreciate many things have been put on hold. Nevertheless climate change unfortunately won't stop for us, and the lack of action whether the government has ignored their climate change goals or prioritised their mess of a pandemic response may and probably will contribute to the staying below 1.5 degrees as a distant memory, a thing of the past, a missed opportunity.

Are we entirely surprised though at the lack of urgency? It is Boris leading the Conservatives after all. Why shouldn't this surprise us? Although I believe strongly that a person can change, I believe the individual has to prove it by showing how they have changed. I say this because in 2013 writing for the Telegraph the PM said “As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands — when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic thermonuclear fireball around which we revolve.”

On top of this Boris Johnson found himself agreeing with conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In 2013 Johnson said in his Telegraph column “Don't write him off”. Yes I know what you're thinking, Boris Johnson our Prime Minister told us not to write off a man who not only believes climate change is a hoax and that vaccines are harmful but also a man who wrote one of the worst songs of our generation comparing wearing a mask to keeping a fart in your trousers.

I could riddle this article with multiple Boris Johnson quotes on climate change but I won't bore you. What I can tell you whilst planning for this article is that I could see a lot of the word “but” when he talked about climate change. The now PM would talk about the threat of climate change then constantly downplay the severity of climate change by saying the dreaded word “but”. It's like when your parents would tell you to apologise and you do, before saying “but” and going on to proclaim your innocence. As you can probably guess, my use of the word “but” delegitimised my apology and got me in trouble with my parents. Although the PM isn't apologising it still doesn't fill me with confidence that his self proclaiming of being a strong believer in climate change is true.

To reiterate I do believe people can change but Boris Johnson hasn't and I fear he will not. His history of misinformation, his history of caring about no one but himself, his party's lack of ambition will lead to a Romeo and Juliet type ending for our livelihoods and the generations to come.

I am a young writer interested in politics and the subjects surrounding it. I have a chatty conversational tone when writing.

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