Climate: Action Over Words – Boris Johnson’s Gesture Politics Is Not Enough

Has the Prime Minister come around or is he saying what the people want to hear?

Boris Johnson has a long history of deficit with speech to action when it comes to policymaking. The mass of a messy blonde-haired politician that is the Prime Minister, has for some time now, been on the backbenches of progressiveness. Is he an exemplar of xenophobia or does he lack vernacular etiquette? Both are one and the same, but now Johnson is exclaiming a need to do more to battle the climate emergency.

Following a museum of bungled pandemic strategies, ignoring scientists, acting on amateur instinct, he has said:

“It is time for us to listen to the warnings of the scientists – and look at Covid, if you want an example of gloomy scientists being proved right – and to understand who we are and what we are doing.”

“The world – this precious blue sphere with its eggshell crust and wisp of an atmosphere – is not some indestructible toy, some bouncy plastic romper room against which we can hurl ourselves to our heart’s content.”

His linguistic behaviour and tone of speech flex the wrong way and a sincere approach to green policymaking appear lacking. Using playful language that undermines the seriousness of what we face, this rhetoric only serves to embolden denialists and YouTube philosophers who hang on to the science of 1 minute to 15-minute videos to get a grasp of what they feel is ‘science.’

Actions speak louder than words. Traditionally, politicians use global events as a tool for public relations in order to invite tourists, explain the pros of visiting their country and woo political figures who may have something to offer in return. COP 26 looks to be no different, as so far, Boris Johnson’s track record is thin on climate achievements.

For one, the so-called ‘Boris bikes’ were actually spearheaded by Ken Livingstone, coming into effect under the tenure of Johnson only. He is a master of hijacking, surfing on the achievements of others.

The upcoming ban on petrol cars which comes into force within the next 8 years is too late. What’s worse? It hasn’t happened yet and could still be cancelled. It must happen now.

When I have written to the government regarding its climate policy, they have always pointed to the fact they have enshrined in law elements of the Paris Accords attaching a list of ’10 Climate Actions To Celebrate’. Though, they really aren’t anything to shout about.

It is not enough. We still have exhaustive amounts of Co2 leaking into the atmosphere. To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister opened the Woodhouse Colliery coal plant in Cumbria, while also hypocritically asking China to ‘ditch’ coal plants.

The UK government’s two steps forward and two steps back approach sends mixed messages, which will influence apathetic attitudes amongst the public. Many are genuinely concerned by the drama unfolding before us, though with a lack of action and movement towards renewable and clean energies such as hydrogen and wind power, we are simply walking the plank. If the Prime Minister was serious about listening to scientists, his office would have gone above and beyond to invest in clean energy by now and have shunned meetings with fossil fuel companies.

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