The government’s flagship ‘Green Great Britain (GB) Week’ hasn’t started off that well. In fact, it’s gone down like a tonne of… well, fossil fuels. And not least with Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Green GB Week. No, really.
Green GB Week takes place between 15 and 19 October. It is a government plan to promote what it’s allegedly doing to help the environment and combat climate change. Also, it shows how the public can get involved. Its website calls it:
your chance to learn about how clean growth is helping to provide new job opportunities, grow our economy for the benefit of us all and help tackle climate change.
Green GB Week focuses on what each of us can do to stop climate change. It says:
you could commit to reducing the amount of food you waste, getting a smart meter, carrying a reusable bottle or coffee cup, reducing your energy use at home…
This, of course, conveniently ignores the fact that, in the last 30 years, 71% of all planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions have been caused by just 100 companies. But hey – keep reusing those carrier bags!
Sorry. You’ve done what…???
The Green GB Week website also promotes the Conservative-led government’s role in fighting climate change. It boasts:
Since we introduced the Climate Change Act ten years ago we have shown the world that we can cut greenhouse gas emissions, while at the same time increasing jobs and growth in every corner of the country.
Yes, “we can cut greenhouse gas emissions”. But we’re not on course to meet all of our targets for that. Also, the government didn’t mention a court ruling three times that its action on air pollution is unlawful; or the EU also taking the government to court over the same issue.
Social media speaks
But it was perhaps Twitter that summed up Green GB Week best – or rather the sorry state of affairs that it is when you compare it to the government’s actual actions.
Caroline Lucas in particular pulled no punches over the government’s track record:
2015 – Banned new onshore wind projects
2015 – Scrapped Zero Carbon Homes policy
2016 – Ended support for new solar energy projects
2017 -Sold off Green Investment Bank
2018 – Forced fracking on local communities
That is Tories *true* record
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) October 15, 2018
Nor did Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey:
The government has written to the Committee on Climate Change to ask for their advice on reducing emissions to #netzero. But there’s a catch – the government is effectively ruling out any additional action on #climatechange before 2032! #GreenGBpic.twitter.com/DLuKtekFav
— Rebecca Long-Bailey (@RLong_Bailey) October 15, 2018
Quite how Claire Perry thinks the UK can become a #zerocarbon economy while developing #fracking, expanding Heathrow, supporting new roads, scrapping solar subsidies & all-but banning new onshore wind… is anyone’s guess. https://t.co/MEMSWQgQ0D#GreenGBWeek#GreenGB – really? pic.twitter.com/iYDhiKjhho
— Friends of the Earth 🌍 (@friends_earth) October 15, 2018
And in Lancashire, a protest about fracking was going on:
NOW: Good Morning, Cuadrilla. 👋🏻
We’re blockading #PNR for the the start of “Green Great Britain Week” to stand with the Lancashire locals and stop the start of #fracking to prevent climate chaos.#GreenGB#WeSaidNopic.twitter.com/Hv6KL2vFb0
— Reclaim The Power (@reclaimthepower) October 15, 2018
This Green MEP, meanwhile, “fixed” a government gif:
🔥plans for a government-backed bid for airport expansion by stealth at Gatwick
🔥fracking return to England, despite residents saying no and the local authority voting against it pic.twitter.com/Fo5881qfMf
— Keith Taylor MEP (@GreenKeithMEP) October 15, 2018
But author Andrew Simms maybe summed Green GB Week up best:
#GreenGB week looking a slightly bilious shade of yellow on paper, what with the fracking, new roads, cuts to renewables, fossil fuel subsidies, Heathrow expansion etc etc… #climatechange#IPCCReportpic.twitter.com/3gxvGKbnQI
— Andrew Simms (@AndrewSimms_uk) October 15, 2018
The government can try and ‘greenwash’ its record. But the reality is we’re on climate red alert. And its actions fall well short of what’s needed.