Outgoing British Prime Minister, Theresa May will “robustly challenge” Donald Trump on his stance on climate change, during his visit to the UK, as the two countries pursue very different paths to tackle the climate crisis, UK media reports.
The Prime Minister’s confirmation comes after a letter from 250 UK climate researchers urging Mrs. May to challenge President Trump’s “reckless approach”, which they say, “is a threat to the whole world”.
A spokesman for the UK government said that the prime minister has raised the climate crisis before with Mr. Trump and will do so again.
“Tackling climate change is a priority for the UK. As the prime minister has said previously, we were disappointed by the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017 and continue to hope they will return.”
The academics behind the letter to Mrs. May represent 35 universities and research institutes across the UK. They are worried that the Trump administration has already put in place a number of policies that undermine international efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
The letter was organised by Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. The Scientists ask the prime minister to urge Trump to accept the “overwhelming scientific evidence” that climate change is caused by man and “poses a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of people all across the world.”
UK and US Poles Apart on Climate Change
While the British parliament declared a ‘climate emergency’ last month, the Trump Administration in the US has pulled America out of the Paris Climate accords, while President Trump himself is trying to resuscitate the dying US coal industry, and publicly mocks renewable energy and brags about the US being the world’s biggest oil producer.
The US is embarrassingly alone on the climate issue. There were initial wobbles from Brazil and Australia, but they signed up in the end, and even war-torn, ruined Syria signed up in November 2017.
In the US, the Democrats support taking action on climate change, and a number of Republicans have turned climate change denialism into a kind of faith, or political movement in its own right.
In contrast in the UK, the Climate Change Act of 2008 was passed with just 5 votes against it. Since then Britain has made steady progress in building a greener economy. The last two weeks saw the UK produce coal-free electricity for the first time since 1882, and 28% of electricity was generated by renewable resources, such as wind power and solar in 2018.
The UK aims to remove all coal completely from electricity generation by 2025 and the government’s chief advisory committee on climate change has urged the UK to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.
Trump Unwelcome by Many in UK
For Theresa May, hosting trump’s state visit is free of consequences as her political career is over and she will step down as Prime Minister on June 7th.
However, with the exception of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, it is unlikely too many other politicians will want to be seen with Trump.
The current Conservative environment minister, Michael Gove, who has also put his name forward as a candidate to be the next prime minister, has publicly praised the Swedish climate school striker and activist Greta Thunberg and has said that he personally feels a sense of responsibility and guilt over the climate crisis and the fact that politicians all over the world are not acting fast enough to halt the greenhouse effect.
Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has already declined an invitation to attend the state dinner with Trump and himself was the original proponent of the climate emergency declaration.
While among the royal family, Prince Charles has long been an outspoken environmentalist and Prince William addressed crowds at Davos in January with broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough.
Cock and Balls
An 18-year old climate activist, Ollie Nancarrow, used a lawn mower to etch a polar bear and the message ‘climate change is real’ onto his lawn near Stanstead Airport in Essex, which sits just below the flight path of landing planes in the hope that Trump might see it from Air Force One on its final approach.
Just for good measure and to make sure he caught Trump’s eye should the President be looking out the window, he also etched into the grass a giant cock and balls with the words ‘Oi Trump’.
Nancarrow is the founder of Born Eco, a website, which connects shoppers with eco-friendly shoppers.
“Donald Trump and his denial of climate change are not welcome, and I want him to be fully aware of that when he flies into Stanstead on Monday,” he told the Bishop’s Stortford Independent, a local newspaper in Essex.