United Kingdom

Join the GREEN Party to save the planet, says Boris Johnson's climate change spokeswoman

Boris Johnson's climate change spokeswoman Allegra Stratton has suggested people should join the Green Party to save the planet.  

The remark comes after the former Downing Street press secretary faced criticism for advising the public not to rinse their dishes before they put them into a dishwasher to help tackle climate change. 

Stratton said that joining the Green Party was another way in which Britons could help save the planet from rising carbon emissions. 

She told The Independent: 'When people say to me, 'What can they do?', the can do many things.

'They can join Greenpeace, they can join the Green Party, they can join the Tory Party.' 

Boris Johnson's climate change spokeswoman Allegra Stratton has suggested people should join the Green Party to save the planet

She added: 'So there's lots of ways they can get involved in politics but for those people who wouldn't, how do you start to change your life in manageable, achievable, feasible, small ways.' 

Stratton, 41, who is the chief spokesperson for this year's climate change conference, hosted in Glasgow, was responding to criticism by the Green Party and Greenpeace of her advice for Britons to take 'micro-steps' in order to be environmentally friendly.

A friend of Stratton told The Times that her quote about joining the Green Party was misleading. 

'Allegra believes no government has done more for the environment and to deal with climate change in the UK than this one,' the source said. 'And no PM has given the issue such prominence and profile [as Boris Johnson].

'She's proud to be working for the PM to make Cop26 a success, encouraging other countries to come to Glasgow with real movement on coal, cars and trees and to stand a chance to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.'

Green Party co-leader Jonathan Bartley welcomed Stratton's comments and told The Independent: 'After decades of inaction from both the Conservatives and Labour, we would absolutely agree with the government that joining the Green Party is the best thing people can do to help tackle climate change.'

He added: 'As we witness the Conservatives waste time talking about loading dishwashers and fantasy projects such as Jet Zero, it is reassuring to see that they do understand it is only the Greens who can bring about the real change that is needed if we are to prevent climate catastrophe.' 

The remark comes after the former Downing Street press secretary faced criticism for advising the public not to rinse their dishes before they put them into a dishwasher to help tackle climate change

Earlier this week, Stratton said people should freeze leftover bread, order shampoo in cardboard packaging and not rinse plates before putting them in the dishwasher. 

Stratton said many British households are already taking the 'micro-steps' in order to be environmentally friendly. 

She admitted that the government is not pretending that the steps taken on their own will 'stop climate change', but says the suggestions are intended could still have a positive impact. 

Writing in The Telegraph, Ms Stratton said: 'Did you know, according to COP26 principal partner Reckitt, who make Finish, you don't really need to rinse your dishes before they go into the dishwasher? 

'Does your brand of plastic bottle shower gel come as a bar in cardboard packaging? I bet it does. It might be freezing half a loaf of bread when you get it home, to get out later in the week, rather than throwing half of it away when it goes mouldy.'

Her remarks come amid the government's 'One Step Greener' campaign, intended to improve awareness of tackling climate change across Britain.

What 'micro steps' is Allegra Stratton advising to help tackle climate change?

She also spoke ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), set to take place in Glasgow in November. 

The UK is pushing for an agreement at the Glasgow climate conference to limit global warming to 1.5C.

But Alok Sharma - appointed by the Prime Minister to lead the negotiations - said the target would be 'extremely difficult' to achieve without all the countries in the G20 signing up to a pledge to phase out coal.

Addressing reporters earlier this week, the former business secretary said rain and flooding 'sweeping London' while ministers were engaged in talks had sharpened their focus.

He added: 'I think it is a sober reminder on our own doorstep of the urgency of our task.'

The UK was battered with almost a month's worth of rain in a day on Sunday, with homes, roads and Tube stations flooded in the south of England, while a flooded hospital had to cancel all surgery and outpatient appointments on Monday due to water getting into its basement and affecting its power supply.

He said there remained 'significant differences' on some issues and it was 'very disappointing' not to come to an agreement on coal.

PM 'puts ban on new gas boilers back by five years to 2040' after backlash over soaring heating costs

Britons are set to be allowed up to five more years before a ban on sales of all new gas boilers comes into force, in a major row-back for Boris Johnson amid a backlash over the soaring cost of 'net zero' ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow later this year.

The Prime Minister is looking at delaying the ban by five years to 2040, in a move which would give millions of UK households more time for new hydrogen boilers and heat-pumps to fall in price, and for businesses to pump more money into shifting people over gradually. 

The public is set to be incentivised to buy an eco-friendly heat-pump next time their boiler breaks down - but the delay to introducing the ban means working boilers could have to be taken out before 2050, or the UK could fail to hit its 'net zero' carbon emission targets.

It comes amid a mounting backlash over the spiralling cost of Mr Johnson's so-called green revolution, with Government insiders fearful that the proposals could add another £400billion on top of the enormous sums accrued during the Covid pandemic.

Hydrogen boilers are one of the possible replacements for gas boilers, with others including ground source or air source heat pumps, but these cost upwards of £14,000 or £11,000 respectively.

Other options include solar photovoltaic panels or solar water heating which both come in at about £5,000 for a full fitting. A hydrogen-ready boiler is intended to be a like-for-like swap for an existing gas boiler, but the cost is unknown, with estimates ranging from £1,500 to £5,000.

'We weren't able to get every country in the G20 to agree to language on unabated coal phase-out,' said Mr Sharma.

'For me, it is very disappointing and it was very disappointing for those countries who are supportive of this policy.'

The conference president said he 'completely accepted' that 'different countries start from different positions in terms of their energy mix' but pointed to the UK's own shift towards renewable energy.

'In the UK, 40% of our electricity was coming from coal power back in 2012 - we are now at less than 2%; it is going to be phased out completely by 2024.

'We've managed to grow the biggest offshore wind sector in the world and that's because we have put in place the right market mechanisms to allow the private sector to invest as well.

'It is certainly the case that unless we are going to get all countries signed up to unabated coal phase-out, then keeping 1.5C within reach will be extremely difficult.'

With the Covid-delayed Glasgow gathering less than 100 days away, Mr Sharma stressed that 'every day counts' and argued it was 'incumbent on every country to give their all to this process'.

'Ultimately, there is not going to be anywhere to hide at Cop26, each of us will be in the spotlight and we will only deliver this by working together,' he said.

Officials said yesterday that the first face-to-face climate talks among governments in over 18 months showed real engagement and possible areas of compromise ahead of the pivotal November summit.

But the two-day ministerial meeting in London also laid bare differences, especially over the future of coal, that must be bridged before the COP26 summit in Glasgow, they added. 

The London talks came as nearly 200 nations started online negotiations yesterday to validate a UN science report that will anchor further meetings charged with preventing climate catastrophe ahead of Glasgow.

The UN's climate chief, Patricia Espinosa. hailed the 'extremely positive' discussions in London and the 'extraordinary' turnout from more than 50 governments including key players China, India and the United States.

'The dialogue has started, (but) there is a lot of homework to be done in the next 90-something days,' she said, arguing that 'landing zones' for compromise are becoming clearer in the runup to Glasgow.

Ms Stratton wrote: 'Did you know, according to COP26 principal partner Reckitt, who make Finish, you don't really need to rinse your dishes before they go into the dishwasher?' (stock image) 

Mr Sharma stressed it was 'very disappointing' that G20 countries last week had failed to agree to phase out coal.

And more work is needed to meet a target of raising $100billion a year to help poorer countries combat climate change, he said, announcing that Canada and Germany would steer a new dialogue to that end.

Singapore and Norway will push further discussions on establishing carbon markets, Mr Sharma said, while Rwanda and Switzerland will oversee talks on common timeframes for nations' 'nationally determined contributions' to curb emissions. 

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