As the host country for the Climate Summit, the UK wants to show leadership on the international stage. In the lead-up to COP26, the British government has presented ambitious national targets for greening. Wind energy plays an important role in this. “Saudi Arabia Wind Energy” is the slogan of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Not only is it better for the environment; Also because it creates jobs and economic growth.
For the first time in a long time, the British Prime Minister gave a speech without jokes. Even when recently the British were in droves in traffic jams in front of the gas pump and found empty shelves in the supermarket, he managed to make them laugh. This time, there was no joke in his message when he addressed G20 leaders in Rome on Sunday about climate.
The first country with “net zero”
“There is no justification for procrastination,” he said. “We are already seeing the devastation caused by climate change, from heat waves and droughts to wildfires and hurricanes.” The Prime Minister stressed that a score of 1.5 must remain within reach. “When this climate summit fails, everything fails.”
By hosting the climate summit in Glasgow, Johnson is calling on world leaders to set long-term goals to reduce their emissions. But is he entitled to expect that from other countries? The answer is yes: his government offers greening plans that go well beyond what most of the world’s right-wing leaders, including the Dutch government, are pursuing.
With this, Johnson continues the trend set by his political predecessors. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world net zero Purpose and status in law. Former Prime Minister David Cameron planted more windmills about ten years ago than his Conservative Party thought necessary at the time.
Johnson, the political “opportunist” who knows better than anyone how to hold back traditional left-wing Labor voters, is familiar with recent opinion polls: More than 56 per cent of Britons want the government to do more for the environment. This, combined with the political strategy described by the term “reinforcement” (the tendency to pour money into large-scale transportation projects) led to great ambitions in his government’s plans.
Long tradition of environmental activism
Wind power is central to the goal of providing the entire country with green electricity by 2035. The Siemens Garmisa plant in the northern city of Hull is a much-cited example of how investing in green technology can also provide economic growth for poorer regions.
The plant recently received $186 million to expand further. “It’s not just 1,000 jobs here in the factory, but all the supply chains that come with it that will create jobs in the region,” said Director Andy Skeez. The director proudly points to an 81-meter mill blade on which about twenty men work. “One stroke of this wick can power one home for the whole day.”
Climate expert Tom Burke says investing heavily in green technology is not soon enough. He leads the E3G research group and has previously advised the British government on climate policy. “No one doubts the current prime minister’s personal motives for turning to the environment. His family has a long tradition of environmental activism and his current wife has a good reputation. The question is whether he can stick to this and turn it into a government policy where no one is left out. There are doubts about that among experts. ‘ says Burke. “This is about his competence as a politician, not his conviction as a person.”
The technology is there, and now a good policy is still needed
Burke explains that investing in green technology must go hand in hand with investing in social transformation. “The great social changes that lie ahead must be controlled by the government. People must be trained and retrained so that no one will end up without work. I have not seen any plan for that yet, and this is dangerous because if you are social if you do not get along with everyone, there will always be people who object in fear from losing their income.
And this is a global issue, according to Burke. The technology is there, but it is now up to world leaders to translate it into good policy.
Reporter Flor Lunsbach also spoke with Prime Minister Johnson’s father, climate activist Stanley Johnson, for this story:
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