United Kingdom

United Kingdom

COP26: ‘Gulf between promises and policies grows’

The UK’s preparations for hosting the COP26 climate change summit in November are not exactly proceeding to plan. If, indeed, there is a plan at all.

UK PM Boris Johnson, still looking for someone to head COP26 summit (pic credit: Estonian Presidency/Wikimedia Commons)
UK PM Boris Johnson, still looking for someone to head COP26 summit (pic credit: Estonian Presidency/Wikimedia Commons)

Google Translate

Summit head, former energy minister Claire O’Neill, was abruptly dismissed from the role by prime minister Boris Johnson on 31 January.

Johnson’s first-choice replacement, former PM David Cameron — famous for his “cut the green crap” instruction when rising consumer energy bills was briefly a political hot potato — turned it down.

So did Johnson's second choice, another former Conservative party leader, William Hague.

Meanwhile, O’Neill has not gone quietly.

The UK is “miles off track” in its climate crisis commitments, “promises of action are not close to being met”, and there has been a “huge lack of leadership and engagement” from the current administration, she said.

A further complication is the choice of venue — Glasgow in Scotland. 

To say that Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon and Johnson do not see eye-to-eye does not even begin to explain their mutual loathing and distrust.

Arguments over the costs of hosting the summit now mean that shifting the venue to an English city is under consideration.

Johnson’s response to the turmoil was predictable enough.

He made an eye-catching, attention-deflecting policy pledge, with absolutely no indication of how it could be implemented — bringing forward the ban on sales of new petrol- and diesel-engined cars and vans from 2040 to 2035.

The gulf between glib promises and genuine policies in green energy in the UK grows ever larger.

Additional reporting by Gina Johnston.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles
and free email bulletins.

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in