“Boris Johnson doesn’t get climate change” – sacked COP26 chair

Claire Perry 180521

Photo: Parliament TV, 21 May 2018

Claire O’Neill, the chair of the COP26 talks sacked by Boris Johnson last week, said the prime minister did not understand the climate emergency.

Speaking this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the former energy minister said:

“The prime minister has made incredibly warm statements about this over the years.

“He has also admitted to me that he doesn’t really understand it. He doesn’t really get it, I think is what he said.”

The comments are likely to overshadow the government’s decision to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

The prime minister is due to make an announcement today at the launch of the COP26 UN climate talks, due to take place in Glasgow in November. He will say UK sales will be banned in 2035, instead of the previous date of 2040.

Mrs O’Neill was sacked by the prime minister as the chair of the COP26 at the end of January. The Sunday Times reported that she was considering suing the government.

This morning, she told Today:

“We have seen a huge lack of leadership and engagement.

“Our efforts right now are somewhere around the middle of League One. We are playing at Oxford United levels when we need to be Liverpool if we are going to do what the world actually needs us to do.”

On Boris Johnson, she said:

“My advice to anybody to whom Boris is making promises – whether it is voters, world leaders, ministers, employees or indeed to family members – is to get it in writing, get a lawyer to look at it and make sure the money is in the bank.”

“Almost out of time to win battle”

The Financial Times published a letter from Mrs O’Neill to the prime minister dated 3 February 2020. In it, she said:

“We are almost out of time to win the battle against climate change and start the process of climate recovery.”

Mrs O’Neill complained that the cabinet sub-committee on climate had not met.

Government departments had “fought internal Whitehall battles over who is responsible and accountable for COP actions”, she said.

Budgets were ballooning and COP staff have “had to battle for every resource” and “jump through every possible internal process hoop”, her letter said.

“In my judgement this isn’t a pretty place to be and we owe the world a lot better.

“We must move on from Whitehall knot-tying, infighting and obfuscation, petty political squabbles and black ops briefings to real sustained engagement, maximum global  ambition, open-hearted international cooperation, joined-up action and alliance building.”

10 replies »

  1. Just like Donald Trump but pretending otherwise!

    Both are only interested in personal power and money!

    • Peter

      Not to worry. The Russian funded pro oil and gas supporters in the gov are no doubt behind the move to electric vehicles. We just need to spin that a bit to get it to fit.

      Boris will only have agreed to the move as he is their power having attended a party once and left worse for wear.

      The Russians must also like Chinese Phone companies i guess. We will soon be importing vast numbers of Russian EVs no doubt.

      I look forwards to the next Desmog mail explaining multiple links from climate change deniers to the ( evil, ponzi rich etc ) EV industry and why that is a bad thing. Probably something about plastic.

      Meanwhile we must bow to musk, who is not interested in power or money, of course.

    • Spot on , David Penney! We used to live in Claire Perry’s constituency and she supported fracking and would not engage with any environmental issues at all- maybe she thinks we will not connect Ms O’Neill with Claire Perry?

    • There are many of us who know far more about energy and the climate than most who see zero contradiction between fracking and the move to NetZero

  2. Oh dear Peter!

    Have you suddenly converted to a CP (now CON!) supporter?

    A woman scorned is very useful to many journalists, including DoD, and Peter.

    Hey ho.

  3. Hell hath no fury like a woman (or two) scorned. With more time on their hands, O’Neill should meet up with Natascha Engel for a pint or two to discuss the pros and cons of creating a brand new fracking industry over the critical next 10-15 years and how it would contribute to decarbonisation – to include methane leakages and flaring of course. It would make a good topic for COP26… but then again, I don’t suppose either will be invited.

  4. Takes me back to my youth, Mike, when a relationship ended.

    Good job us guys have thicker skin, and more class!

    (That should do the trick.)

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