A Tory MP’s leaked emails show his contempt for COP26

Philip Davies and the earth at COP26
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A Tory MP’s emails to a constituent have exposed not only his contempt for the public but also – seemingly – his own government. Because in the midst of COP26, he called people backing the global Net Zero target as living in “cloud cuckoo land”. And he also said his constituent was “winner of the Woke Award 2021” – because she called out his dire thoughts on the climate catastrophe.

Meet Helen: concerned over COP26

Helen lives in Shipley, and her MP is Tory Philip Davies. She emailed him via a World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) template, asking him to attend a debate in parliament on 21 October. Helen’s email also asked Davies, among other things, to:

Write to the Prime Minister, asking him to publish a detailed and credible net-zero strategy showing, step-by-step, how we will decarbonise every sector of the UK.

An email sent to Philip Davies MP. The email reads: Dear Philip Davies I live in Shipley and I would like you to prioritise climate and nature action at this crucial moment in time. This is unsustainable. Something has to change. There is a clear consensus that action on the climate and nature crisis can no longer wait. This week thousands of people, covering every constituency, are joining together to celebrate climate action as part of Great Big Green Week - the largest event for climate and nature ever seen in the UK. Together, we want to see a clear plan from government for a net-zero future that works for all of us: new green jobs, cleaner air, thriving nature, and a healthier way of life. 2021 must be the turning point – now is our last best chance to set nature, wildlife and the climate on the road to recovery. The promises made and legislation passed by this government are welcome – they will work to keep global heating below 1.5°C, and have set a target to achieve net zero emissions in the UK by 2050. Promises have been made to protect forests, make our money greener and work with nature to tackle the climate crisis. But we need to see more progress now. Globally, the science shows the world is on the brink of irreversible harm. At home, the Committee on Climate Change’s analysis shows nearly every sector is off track to meet our emissions targets. That is why I am calling on you, as my MP, to ask the Government to keep their promises and raise their ambition to: 1. Keep 1.5 on the table Britain has the chance to lead the world at COP26, and we must secure more ambitious promises from every government to reduce their emissions while maximising the potential of nature to tackle the climate crisis. This will only be possible if the UK shows genuine leadership at home. Please: Write to the Prime Minister, asking him to publish a detailed and credible net-zero strategy showing, step-by-step, how we will decarbonise every sector of the UK. Write to the Chancellor, asking him to adopt a ‘net zero test’ through the recently announced Comprehesive Spending Review process that would ensure the Treasury measures all future spending plans against the UK’s climate and environmental commitments 2. Make nature our climate hero. Nature is our greatest ally in the fight against climate change, without it we can’t limit warming to 1.5°C. Please show your personal commitment to put nature at the heart of climate plans by: Signing WWF’s ‘Land Charter: For nature, net-zero and the economy’, to work with communities to make land use in the UK a net-carbon sink by 2040 at the latest, while restoring nature and creating green jobs. Asking the Environment Secretary to commit to consulting in early 2022 on a target to tackle the UK’s growing global environmental footprint as part of the consultation process on targets in the Environment Bill. The choice could not be more simple, or more clear. Failure to act now will see the costs of catastrophic climate change rise, the costs of action increase for future generations, and see us miss out on £90 billion of annual benefits from cleaner air, improved health and long-term sustainable jobs. Only promises backed by action now can deliver a climate that is as safe as we can make it, and only this ambition will be acceptable to future generations. We won’t forget who steps up to the greatest challenge we’ve ever faced. Please take action now

Davies’ response to Helen was interesting to say the least.

Meet Philip Davies: concerned over his bank balance

He started off by saying:

I am afraid that I don’t agree with you about this.

Read on...

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Davies went on to say that the UK reaching Net Zero would essentially be pointless, because:

countries like China, India and emerging economies in Africa are going to be increasing their carbon emissions each year by more than our entire total.

Of course, as Novara Media wrote, this isn’t strictly the whole picture. China, for example, is forecasting its emissions will increase. But bear in mind that due to its population size, its emissions per head is actually lower than the US, Canada and Australia – who emit twice as much. Not that Davies appeared to see that nuance. As he wrote to Helen, it will cost the UK £1tn to reach Net Zero. He thinks that:

It is always striking how coy people are about admitting what the total cost of these actions will be and who will be paying for it.

And Davies thinks that anyone who believes all countries will take measures to reach Net Zero:

are in cloud cuckoo land.

An email from Philip Davies which says: Thank you for your email. I am afraid that I don’t agree with you about this. The UK has cut its carbon emissions by almost half over the past 30 years. We are now responsible for less than 1% of global carbon emissions. Even if we were to reduce that number to 0% it would make no difference at all to global temperatures - particularly when countries like China, India and emerging economies in Africa are going to be increasing their carbon emissions each year by more than our entire total. Such action would be utterly futile, virtue signalling, gesture politics which would also bankrupt the country along with many families. The estimated cost of getting from less than 1% of global carbon emissions to net zero is estimated to be £1trillion in the UK - that is money the country and many of my constituents can ill afford; especially when the actions of other countries will make it utterly futile. It is always striking how coy people are about admitting what the total cost of these actions will be and who will be paying for it. It would be much more sensible to spend money on adapting to changes in the climate rather than a unrealistic view that we are going to change the world’s climate. That change in the world’s climate is just not going to happen - anyone who thinks every country in the world is going to take these measures are in cloud cuckoo land. Best wishes Philip Philip Davies MP Member of Parliament for the Shipley constituency

“Casually racist”

Davies’ response left Helen unimpressed. She replied, saying his response was “patronising, dismissive and casually racist”. Helen wrote that she thought Davies was implying the UK should:

sit on our pile of money and point the finger somewhere else.

An email to Philip Davies which reads: Hi Phil I've had some time to digest your patronising, dismissive and casually racist response and really process what it is your are saying. Basically you are saying, why should this wealthy country suffer any more harm to its First World Status when those stupid poor people just screw things up anyway. Let's be as wealthy as possible until the ship goes down. Let's sit on our pile of money and point the finger somewhere else. Why clean up our yard when the neighbours are not doing what they should do (because they can't afford to)? All those countries that have a bigger impact on the climate just coincidentally manufacture most goods for the western world… strange huh? But this has never changed for decades. I am appalled and disgusted at your response. But I know you won't be ashamed of yourself because you're the kind of person who revels in upholding this garbage because it lines your pockets right now. Helen

So, Davies responded. And he didn’t hold back in his disdain for Helen and her views. He said:

An email from Philip Davies which reads: Dear Helen Thank you for your reply. I can award you the winner of the Woke Award 2021 for claiming my reply was “casually racist” I think that confirms beyond any doubt that a rational debate about this is impossible. Best wishes Philip

Is Johnson woke?

The Canary asked Davies for comment. We wanted to know:

  • Why he disagrees with his own government’s Net Zero target.
  • If Boris Johnson is also living in “cloud cuckoo land”.
  • Whether he’s had time to reflect on why his constituent considered his prioritising of the lives of people in developed nations over those in developing ones “casually racist”.

Davies had not responded at the time of publication.

What a mess

Managing to show contempt for his own government is an achievement in itself. But the contempt Davies also shows for Helen is palpable – and by default, for COP26 too.

The fact that an MP can be so dismissive and rude to a constituent says a lot. But moreover, his attitude towards the climate crisis is appalling. The richest people’s wilful destruction of our planet will affect people in the Global South far more than many of us in the wealthiest nations. Yet Davies shows little concern for them – just for the UK’s economy.

No wonder the planet is in such a mess when people like him are in power.

Featured image via GB News – YouTube and COP26 – Flickr

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