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CLIMATE-CHANGE campaigners called on the government to do more to cut carbon emissions after Boris Johnson announced a “meaningless” new target today.
The Prime Minister said that the “ambitious” new target of slashing emissions by at least 68 per cent by 2030 – as part of the nationally determined contribution that Britain is required to make under the Paris Agreement – would be the fastest rate of reduction attempted by any major economy so far.
But the announcement was dismissed by environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which said that “these empty promises from a government totally out of its depth are the very definition of greenwashing.”
The announcement coincided with a report by the National Audit Office forecasting that the government will to fail to meet its existing target of a 68 per cent emissions cut by 2023, calling it a “colossal challenge.”
XR’s Clare Farrell said: “Who knew Boris was speaking literally when he said he was going to get the UK ‘oven ready’?
“On a more serious note, why should we expect them to meet these new targets? Targets are meaningless if they never intend on reaching them.”
She warned that the plan failed to consider young people or those in the global South who urgently need solutions to the climate crisis.
“Over in New Zealand, [Prime Minister] Jacinda Adern respects her climate advisers and follows intelligent, evidence-based approaches, announcing on Wednesday that the country would have a carbon neutral government by 2025,” Ms Farrell added.
“We know how New Zealand’s approach worked out with Covid. The UK should take a leaf out of their book on climate too.”
Shadow business and energy secretary Ed Miliband said that Labour welcomed “the important strengthening” of Britain’s 2030 target, but added that it was the “minimum we should aim for.”
He also called for a plan which would lay out the policies to tackle the climate emergency fairly and in a way that creates jobs.
Scottish Greens said that the new target was just “hot air” without the action to meet it.
Co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “This is not about small lifestyle changes, it is about government action.
“Compared to the meagre £4 billion spent on his speculative climate wish list, the whopping £16.5bn Boris Johnson is throwing at defence spending tells the real story.
“If he is going to get serious about meeting these targets, he needs to put the UK’s money where his mouth is.”
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