A “proportionate and pragmatic” climate policy
This fierce defense stems from reactions to Rishi Sunak’s decision, announced late Wednesday, to break away from some of the objectives set by his predecessors to fight climate change. He thus postponed the ban on the sale of combustion cars from 2030 to 2035 – thus aligning the United Kingdom with the European Union’s agenda. Same thing for gas boilers, the sale of which will be banned in 2035 and no longer in 2026. Finally, the obligation for owners to have from 2025 housing with an energy efficiency of level C to be able to rent it was simply canceled. He also boasted of canceling a tax on meat and the obligation to share vehicles in the future… measures that do not yet exist.
The conservative leader justified “this change of direction” by the need to move forward at a pace “proportionate and pragmatic”. If he recognizes that “many people disagree with me”he asks them “to explain to the country why they think it is right that ordinary families should have to pay 5,000, 10,000, 15,000 thousand pounds sterling (around 5700, 11,500 and 17,200 euros, editor’s note) and to make the transition sooner than necessary”. In his eyes, the status of herald of the environmental cause does not, or no longer, suits the United Kingdom. It is not necessary “to have more ambitious goals than anyone else”.
The person responsible for “the end of British leadership”
Rishi Sunak’s lack of enthusiasm for the environmental cause is not new. In the wake of his coming to power last fall, he refused to participate in Cop27 (the international climate conference) organized in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, before changing his mind because he had learned that his predecessor Boris Johnson was going there.
Above all, his Secretary of State for the Environment, Zac Goldsmith, resigned in June after explicitly accusing Rishi Sunak of being the cause of the end “leadership [britannique] in matters of climate and nature”. ”The problem is not that the government is hostile to the environment, it is that you, our Prime Minister, are simply not interested. This signal, or lack of signal, […] caused a sort of paralysis.” , had snapped Zac Goldsmith. On Wednesday, he demanded on social networks the outfit “of an election. NOW. ” Implied: who would bring Labor to power.
The Conservative Party increasingly looks like a sinking ship
Criticism against the Prime Minister increased on Wednesday evening and Thursday. They came from the opposition as well as from his predecessor Boris Johnson and many Tory MPs. The most notable ones were nevertheless made by the business world. After recalling the investment of 430 million pounds sterling (495 million euros) made by her company in the United Kingdom, the president of operations of the car manufacturer Ford in the United Kingdom Lisa Brankin banged her fist on the table: “Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of the 2030 target would compromise all three elements. ”
This lack of appreciation of the Prime Minister’s plans is shared by conservative voters: 26.8% of those who voted for the tories in 2019 said they were less encouraged by this measure to vote for Rishi Sunak’s party and only 21.4% more inclined, according to the firm FindOutNow.