With only ’12 years left to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown’, Michael Gove skips a crucial climate meeting

Michael Gove
Fréa Lockley

On 8 October, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a vitally important report. Without “urgent” action now, we face “catastrophic climate change” by 2030. In response, EU environment ministers held an international summit on climate change on 9 October. But the UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, skipped the meeting. No UK cabinet ministers took his place.

“Environmentally destructive”

Green MP Caroline Lucas condemned Gove for his actions:

As the Independent reported, Gove’s department:

confirmed the environment secretary was not able to attend the meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg, which is specifically about fighting climate change by cutting CO2 emissions, as well as other environmental matters…

The environment minister has also “failed to attend any of the EU council meetings since he came to office”. Lucas told the Independent that the IPCC report:

exposed the Government’s approach to tackling climate change as completely inadequate. Michael Gove’s failure to engage with the EU Environment Council tells us everything we need to know about whether they plan to take the urgent action necessary to avoid disaster.

A planet in crisis

What makes Gove’s actions so indefensible is the urgency of the IPCC’s findings. The UK has a vital role to play, along with every country on the planet. Although he sent Therese Coffey, a junior minister, in his place, his absence sends out a clear message. Because it signals the government’s refusal to take clear steps towards environmental change.

Many people took to Twitter to share their outrage at his actions:

Tick tock

Gove’s track record on the environment is questionable. In 2013, as education secretary, he refused to take firm action against plans to remove climate change from the Geography syllabus. And in 2014, he also barred Angela Rudd, then energy and climate secretary, from going to the UN climate summit in Peru.

But it gets worse. As DeSmogUK reported:

Gove also sits on the fringe of the Brexit climate denier network – he is friends with Breitbart’s climate science denialist reporter James Delingpole and Lord Lawson, founder of the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Lawson endorsed Gove for the Tory leadership in 2016.

And this year he also seemed to welcome climate change. Because apparently, it helps to make good UK wine:

So now he’s upped the ante even further and refused to take part in some of the most vital climate change discussions in our lifetime. Tick tock, Gove – what the hell are you doing?

The country, and indeed the world, deserve better than you.

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Featured image via Policy Exchange/Flickr

 

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Fréa Lockley