Greenpeace Accuses Boris Johnson of Lying on Climate Commitments

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Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on February 26, 2020, to take part in Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on February 26, 2020, to take part in Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the House of Commons. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

The UK branch of the environmental organization Greenpeace accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday of lying to the public about climate commitments, claiming that the British government secretly agreed to remove binding temperature commitments in the Paris climate change agreement from the UK-Australia trade deal.

“The UK government pledged to embed the environment at the very heart of trade, including supporting the Paris Agreement on climate and zero deforestation in supply chains. Signing an Australian trade deal with action on climate temperature commitments secretly removed is the polar opposite of everything Boris Johnson publicly pledged and rips the heart out of what the agreement stands for,” Greenpeace UK executive director John Sauven said in a statement.

The environmental group claims to have seen a leaked email in which ministers Liz Truss (International Trade), David Frost (EU Relations) and Kwasi Kwarteng (Business) are named as agreeing to drop any reference to the commitments in order to get the post-Brexit trade agreement with Australia.

It also recalled that last month Johnson wrote to Greenpeace and other environmental organizations to give them assurances that any trade deal with Australia would include a chapter on trade and environment.

“Details from the leaked email demonstrate that what Boris Johnson wrote in that letter was a lie,” Greenpeace UK added.

According to Greenpeace, the Australian government is a “climate and environmental laggard,” as it has committed to cut carbon emissions by only 26%-28% by 2030, and uses coal to generate more than half of its power.

Sky News broadcaster also claimed to have seen a leaked government email proving that British ministers agreed to bow to pressure from Australia on climate commitments.

Reacting to the reports, Labour lawmaker Anna McMorrin said it was “dreadful” and that, instead of leading by example as the host of the upcoming UN Climate Conference – or COP26 – to be held in Glasgow in November, the British government is “failing at every turn.”

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