Johnson has vowed to place climate change and preserving biodiversity as the UK’s top international priority. Johnson’s ‘green industrial revolution’ included a project with new funding, an expansion of nuclear and hydrogen, with plans to produce 250,000 jobs. However, his pledges have been met with criticism over just how effective Johnson’s environmental policy is for both the climate and jobs crisis caused by COVID. Greenpeace have noted how Johnson’s green promises have been skewed by a fixation with retreating to nuclear and hydrogen fossil fuels, which alone, can’t bring Britain’s emissions down to net zero in the near future.
Johnson has also backed the increase of nuclear energy green schemes, committing £525m, essentially to provide significant amounts of cheap energy with very little pollution. Johnson also stated how this move could supply at least 10,000 jobs. The PM admitted, this move is a very different pathway to his original plan to combat climate change, but in September 2021, reinforces the need for nuclear plants following a lorry driver shortage which caused a fuel shortage panic. The energy crisis, and Johnson’s inexperience of green policy may have pushed the British government into a decision with perceived risks of nuclear catastrophes that come with storing nuclear waste.
Popularity of Climate Issues
Johnson is in no way a politician wholly committed to tackling the climate crisis. His policy pledges echo an inadequacy that shines through his struggles for popularity. As we have come to realise, Johnson’s politics tend to be malleable in changing trends. Johnson is calculated; the demand for action on climate change is just as en vogue to address now than women’s rights were in the 90s. His environmental promises may be an ideological tactic, but they require serious action. At a record high, the environment has become the 3rd most important area of policy for Brits, but lags significantly behind health and Brexit, meaning his lack of commitment to the environment may not be so costly. Unlike areas of security or economics, Johnson lacks the expertise for true environmental change. As Johnson fumbles into the world of green policy making, his cultivation of a relatable caricature may once again be the root of his political survival, both domestically and globally.