Boris Johnson's "Humanity must grow up" speech, delivered to the UN on 22nd Sept 2021, paves the way to COP 26 in Glasgow. It sounds promising but is it actually hot air?
It was good to see Boris leading the battle against climate change last week, corralling the support of UN leaders to come to the table and join the UK as it blunders out of its teenage years and wobbles into middle age. There was a problem with it though. The UK's own house is not exactly in order on this issue and so it's hard to imagine how much actual, real, ratified, rubber stamped change Boris will be able to incite at COP itself.
Boris' speech highlights the commitments made by the UK to be Kermit-The-Frog green, but inaction lurks behind the scenes. Over recent months Johnson's government has scrapped the UK's green homes grant, opened up a new round of licences for oil and gas fields in the North Sea, so far failed to oppose the building of a new coal mine in Cumbria, failed to impose necessary taxes on flying and stuck to the building of HS2. All of this leads to greater carbon emissions, not less. Recent research also shows that the Johnson government have imposed less than a quarter of the policies needed to clean up the economy.
If I was attending COP 26 and Boris impressed upon me the urgent need to end our reliance on fossil fuels, I'd have quite a hard time being entirely convinced by how authentic he really was.