When US President Donald Trump officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement on 1 June, Jeremy Corbyn expressed his condemnation immediately. And in doing so, he also targeted Theresa May’s apparent complicity with the US leader:
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) June 1, 2017
But on 2 June, the Labour Party leader went a step further. Calling Trump’s withdrawal “reckless and dangerous”, he slammed May’s decision not to join European leaders in condemning Trump as yet another example of the Conservative leader’s “subservience” to Trump. He said:
She’s instead opted for silence and once again subservience to Donald Trump. It’s a dereliction of both her duty to this country and our duty to our planet. This is not the type of leadership Britain needs to negotiate Brexit or stand up to defend our planet in an era of climate change.
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— Reuters UK (@ReutersUK) June 2, 2017
A Downing Street spokesperson has said:
President Trump called the Prime Minister… to discuss his decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement… The Prime Minister expressed her disappointment with the decision and stressed that the UK remained committed to the Paris Agreement…
The Tory record suggests otherwise
While Britain is currently signed up to the Paris Agreement, the Conservatives’ commitment to protecting the environment seems doubtful. One of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister, for example, was to disband the Department for Energy and Climate Change. And she gave climate change just a “cursory” mention in her speech at the last Tory party conference, mentioning “business” 14 times and “economy” 26 times.
May’s party, meanwhile, has propped up the ailing fossil fuel sector with subsidies – a move the competition watchdog has warned against. This is despite the efficiency and popularity of greener alternatives. It also appears committed to fracking, scrapping subsidies for renewable energy while granting fracking licences in national parks. And the 2017 Tory manifesto says:
The discovery and extraction of shale gas in the United States has been a revolution… We will therefore develop the shale industry in Britain.
Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and the Greens all oppose fracking.
The bottom line, then, is that the Conservative Party appears to be almost as uncommitted to action on climate change as Trump is. And May’s refusal to speak out firmly against Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement only strengthens that appearance.
On 8 June, UK voters will have to ask: what kind of future do we want for our world? The vision of Trump and May? Or something different?
– Vote on 8 June! And encourage others to do the same.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Support The Canary if you value the work we do.
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