Chancellor Rishi Sunak has insisted that the government’s new budget for tackling climate change is £12 billion, three times higher than the amount claimed by business secretary Alok Sharma at the end of last year.
Fatima Ibrahim, co-executive director at climate action group Green New Deal UK, confronted Sunak by telling him he represents “all of us”, but that he seems to be “blocking action on climate change”.
Sunak replied by suggesting to her that she has “a look at the prime minister’s fantastic 10-point plan”, a point he repeated and praised again upon hearing Ibrahim replying: “There’s no plan to meet net zero! You’re approving new coal mines!”
‘One of the best anywhere in Europe’
She then proceeded to remind him that the 10-point plan was allocated only £4 billion of new investment, which she labelled as “nothing”, but Sunak repeated several times that it’s “actually £12 billion”.
Ibrahim also mentioned a £27 billion investment in new roads programmes, in contrast to the 10-point plan, and Sunak said billions are invested in “one of the best electric charging infrastructures anywhere in Europe”.
Upon being asked what action the government is taking against flooding in the UK, Sunak replied: “It was really nice to meet you”.
“No, I don’t think you’re doing enough and you seem to be running away and that’s really sad. This should be your priority,” Ibrahim concluded.
WATCH: GND Rising activist Fatima calls out @RishiSunak for blocking climate action.— Green New Deal Rising (@GNDRising) September 5, 2021
❌ The govt’s plan only includes £4bn of new money
❌ There is no comprehensive plan for how to tackle climate change
❌ They are still approving new climate-wrecking oil and coal projects pic.twitter.com/1HOksD4eFF
The conversation came after the business secretary admitted in November last year that only £4bn of new money has been found for Boris Johnson’s climate crisis plan.
“Yes, around £4 billion of this is new money – the other money is money that has been pledged previously or, indeed, at the last Budget,” Alok Sharma told the BBC.
When asked if the UK will be able to stop adding to global heating by 2050, Sharma said “this is certainly part of the road map to get us to net zero”.
And although there were £9 billion pledged in the Tories’ election manifesto in 2019 for improving UK homes’ energy efficiency, only £2 billion was in fact found for the measure, according to The Independent.
Last month, a United Nations’ report warned that humans’ harmful impact on the planet is already “locked in” for decades but the climate crisis could get much worse without action.
Rapid and large-scale action to cut down emissions are needed according to the IPCC report, without which global temperatures are set to increase – and pass the critical 1.5-degree Celsius threshold in the next two decades.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the report is a “code red for humanity”.
“Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible,” Guterres said.