Environmentalists and politicians are calling into question British Prime Minister David Cameron’s support for action against global warming after it became apparent he is unlikely to select the head of the country’s climate change envoy.
Members of the Liberal Democrats, among other groups, said Cameron is showing all the wrong signals in refraining from picking a new person to head the department. He initially created the role in 2014 prior to the climate summit in Paris.
“The prime minister promised the greenest government ever but he is axing carbon capture, cutting energy efficiency, blocking wind power, threatening the solar industry and selling off the green bank,” Clive Lewis, the country’s climate and energy minster, told reporters.
Lewis added: “Now he’s giving up even the pretence of leading the battle against climate change, by abolishing the post of his personal climate change envoy only 18 months after creating it – a decision that the government didn’t even announce, in the hope that no one would notice.”
The role is mostly figurative, but it is important because it represents a signal to the rest of the world that Britain is concerned about the climate, Liberal Democrats climate change spokesperson Lynne Featherstone told reporters.
“This prime minister has shown that he doesn’t want that and has downgraded our response to climate change,” Featherstone said. “It’s short-sighted and wrong.”
Cameron appointed multi-millionaire and lifetime politician Greg Barker, Lord Barker of Battle, to the position in 2014. Cameron appointed Barker after addressing a United Nations climate summit where he explained that so-called man-made global warming is “one of the most serious threats facing our world.”
Barker traveled to the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in 2006 with Cameron in tow; while there, Barker was famously photographed bear-hugging a husky. He stepped down from the role in 2014.
Cameron was accused in December of using man-made global warming as an excuse for failing to take seriously floods that were hurting communities.
“The Government shouldn’t be using climate change as an excuse for what is a predictable phenomenon. Instead of trying to hide behind climate change, they should have ensured the Environment Agency was properly funded so people’s lives were not turned upside-down,” Labour MP Simon Danczuk said at the time.
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