Rishi Sunak faces backlash over step back from Net Zero promises
Rishi Sunak launched into a passionate defence his his net zero target delays this morning, telling the BBC’s Nick Robinson that his counterarguments are “easy to rebut”.
A confident PM easily listed off other countries’ targets – including those in the EU – to demonstrate the UK is now approaching net zero at the same speed as comparable countries.
He told Today listeners: “Here are the facts… We’ve committed to reducing our emissions by 68 percent.
“Here are some of the other countries’ targets: the EU – just 55 percent; Australia 45 percent; America 40 percent; Canada around 20 percent; New Zealand 18 percent.
“So if people want to talk about ‘global leadership’ those are the facts we should be dealing with.”
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Mr Robinson mistakenly accused the PM of talking about “where we’ve been” rather than “where we’re going”.
Mr Sunak pointed out that the targets he just listed off are the 2030 targets, “so that’s where we’re going and we’re going faster than anyone else”.
The PM found it equally easy to defend his decision to push back the deadline on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, telling Nick Robinson his arguments were “an easy thing to rebut”.
Mr Robinson said EV manufacturers “will not have the incentive to invest”.
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Mr Sunak hit back in a blunt 10-point retort: “Well that’s an easy thing to rebut. Because if you look at our target of 2035, it’s completely aligned with pretty much every other major economy.
“France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, California, New York, Massachusetts, Sweden.
“So in an industry that is global and integrated, it’s very hard to argue that somehow, you know, we will be at a disadvantage when we’re aligning our date with that of pretty much every other major country.”
He added that given manufacturers operate globally and every other major country has gone with a target of 2035, the Government’s new target “seems entirely sensible”.
In the same interview, Mr Sunak argued Margaret Thatcher would have “agreed” with his approach to Net Zero targets, despite her being a trailblazer in telling the world about the need to look after the environment.
The PM joined his Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch in passionately defending the new policy approach this morning, with Ms Badenoch having a row on Sky News about whether poor Brits drive cars.
The Business Secretary accused Sky News’s Jayne Secker of making “ludicrous” claims over net zero.
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