Guest essay by Eric Worrall
UK Environment Minister Michael Gove just slammed President Trump for walking out on the Paris Agreement.
Michael Gove ‘deeply regrets’ Trump’s approach to Paris climate agreement
In first speech since cabinet return, environment secretary says he hopes US president will have a change of heart
Michael Gove has said he “deeply regrets” Donald Trump’s approach to the Paris agreement on climate change and hopes the president will have a change of heart, in his first speech since returning to the cabinet.
The environment secretary said international cooperation was crucial to resolve the problem of climate change, adding: “The world’s second-biggest generator of carbon emissions can’t simply walk out of the room when the heat is on.”
Gove also said the government was not prepared to compromise on environmental standards, sustainability or animal welfare to secure a trade deal.
Instead, Britain would compete on quality and not take part in a “race to the bottom” to win new trading relationships, he said. “Of course it’s important we explore new trading opportunities, with the United States and other nations across the world but it must not be, and the cabinet is agreed on this, at the risk of dropping any environmental standards whatsoever.”
In the speech at the WWF, Gove also pledged to deliver a “green Brexit”, although critics have pointed out that the Queen’s speech contained no planned environmental legislation. He also said farmers must prove they deserve future subsidies after the UK leaves the European Union.
The full text of Gove’s speech is available here. In the speech, Gove praises the contribution of green organisations like the WWF and Greenpeace.
… Environmental organisations – from WWF to the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts to Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth – enjoy memberships in the tens and hundreds of thousands, and also the support of millions more and a capacity to move hearts more powerful than any other set of institutions in our civil society.
And their campaigning energy and idealism, while occasionally uncomfortable for those of us in power, who have to live in a world of compromise and deal-making, is vital to ensuring we continue to make progress in protecting and enhancing our environment.
On everything from alerting us all to the danger posed by plastics in our oceans and nitrogen oxide in our air, to the threats posed to elephants by poaching and cod by over-fishing, it’s been environmental organisations which have driven Governments to make progress. They have demonstrated that we can, with sufficient will, halt and reverse those trends and forces degrading the natural world and we can, if we have that will, improve the environment we are handing on to the next generation. …
Michael Gove is an interesting figure in Conservative British politics.
Gove was widely blamed for sabotaging popular MP Boris Johnson’s bid for leadership of the Conservative Party in 2016, after Gove abruptly withdrew his support from Boris Johnson, and threw his own hat in the ring.
As The Telegraph said at the time;
… “This was a carefully planned assassination,” an ally said. “It was systematic and calculated to do the maximum damage to Boris.
“When he saw his opportunity for an act of midnight treachery he took it.” …
Gove was accused of being over-enthusiastic in his support for President Trump, immediately after Trump won the election. But now Gove accuses President Trump of “walking out when the heat is on”.
As Education Secretary Gove claimed to champion the poor – but now he cosies up to the WWF and Greenpeace, and throws his support behind the Paris Agreement, which if implemented in full will have a brutal impact on energy bills. High renewable energy bills disproportionately hurt poor people.
What does Michael Gove really stand for? Difficult to say. Lets just say if I was a leading Conservative politician, I would not want my close ally Michael Gove to be standing directly behind me.