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The end of the world for climate change hypocrites

Credit: Getty

February 27, 2020 - 5:40pm

Boris Johnson has been leading a double life. And so did Theresa May did when she was Prime Minister — and David Cameron and Gordon Brown.

All of them pledged themselves to tough targets on climate change — but at the same time they pursued economic policies as if those carbon constraints didn’t exist.

Well, today those two worlds collided. The Court of Appeal ruled that the Government was wrong to draw up its Airport National Policy Statement — which provides the basis for Heathrow expansion — without taking into account the UK’s climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

In the short term, this suits Boris Johnson very well. He no longer has to reconcile his personal opposition to a third runway with the policy he inherited from his predecessor.

In the longer-term, however, the implication of the ruling is that governments will be forced to reconcile what they say on climate change with what they do across a whole range of policy areas, from transport to agriculture.

The anti-greens argue we should never have signed up to this agenda in the first place. I don’t agree with them, but I’ve got even less time for those who went along with it all and now complain when it’s time to pay the price.

You can’t agree with decarbonising the economy and expect business as usual. The sooner that hypocrisy collapses, the better.

Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.


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