Boris Johnson will be the UK’s next Prime Minister. While most of the chatter has been around what that means for Brexit, rather less attention has been paid to what it means for that other great global challenge — climate change.
Fortunately, DeSmog has been tracking BoJo’s views on the matter for years. For the increasing number of people loudly calling for climate action, it makes uncomfortable reading.
The former Foreign Secretary has rejected climate science a number of times over the years.
In December 2015, following the signing of the Paris Agreement, Johnson wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph praising the work of notorious climate science denier and brother of the Labour leader, Piers Corbyn, who he called a “great physicist and meteorologist.”
“In the view of Piers and his colleagues at WeatherAction,” he wrote, “it is all about sun spots,” adding: “Whatever is happening to the weather at the moment, he said, it is nothing to do with the conventional doctrine of climate change.”
Johnson’s position has apparently changed since then, though, having recently come out in support of a 2050 “net zero” emissions target.
And during his stint as Foreign Secretary, he said he would “continue to lobby the U.S. at all levels to continue to take climate change extremely seriously.”
That didn't stop Johnson presiding over a 60% cut in “climate attaches” at the Foreign Office, however, which then UK special representative for climate change and former chief scientist, Prof David King, has since slammed him for. And it's unknown whether Johnson took the opportunity to raise the issue in his phone call with Trump during the US President's UK state visit in June.
Johnson also remains closely tied to the UK's climate science denial network, as well as US groups known for spreading disinformation around climate change.
During the Conservative leadership campaign, he received a £25,000 donation from Terence Mordaunt, a director of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the campaign wing of the UK’s principal climate science denial group founded by Lord Nigel Lawson. First Corporate Shipping, which Mordaunt co-owns, donated to both Johnson and Hunt's leadership campaigns, openDemocracy recently revealed.
And in September 2018, Johnson went on an all-expenses-paid trip to the US to speak at a black tie dinner organised by the American Enterprise Institute, a Koch-funded free-market thinktank that has lobbied hard against climate action in the US.
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Image: Annika Haas/Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0