Juniper steps down with attack on Brown

A A A

Gordon Brown's leadership on environmental issues is flawed, according to Tony Juniper, who is stepping down as director of Friends of the Earth (FoE).

On issues such as climate change, the Prime Minister says one thing and does another, said Mr Juniper, who is leaving the green group after five years at the helm. During that time he has led a string of campaigns to success – notably "The Big Ask" campaign for mandatory reductions in Britain's greenhouse gas emissions, a concept now about to become law in the Climate Change Bill.

"Gordon Brown has talked a talk good on the climate-change issue in particular, but his policies are not matching the speeches," Mr Juniper said yesterday. "In November, one day he was talking about the need to cut emissions by 80 per cent, and a few days later he was out there at the front of the pack making the case for a third runway at Heathrow, which would generate emissions equivalent to the whole of Kenya.

"He hasn't joined up the dots – he's going in two directions simultaneously. Until he sees that the fundamentals of policy have got to reflect his overarching global concern, he isn't going to get very far."

An 18-year veteran of FoE, Mr Juniper, 47, was formerly a professional ornithologist, working for the International Council for Bird Preservation (now BirdLife International), where he was the in-house expert on parrots. Now, by common consent, he is the most effective of all Britain's eco-warriors. Although he will stay in the environment movement, he has decided to look for a change.

Many of the issues FoE has worked on in Mr Juniper's time have borne fruit, such as recycling (now compulsory for all local councils) and GM crops (turned down for commercial growth in Britain). But what gives him more pleasure than anything else is the shift in public perception about climate change in the past two years.

"We've gone through the most incredible transition," he said. "A couple of years ago it was, maybe it was happening, maybe it wasn't. But now the question has moved on. It's in the mainstream, it's become a public and political priority."

The Conservative Party leader, David Cameron, is partly responsible for that, Mr Juniper said: "The question is whether this has just been a rebranding exercise for the Conservatives, or a sincere environment agenda that's going to come into government with him, should he ever get there."

Mr Juniper also criticised celebrities such as Sienna Miller and Naomi Campbell who have endorsed green causes but who have talked the talk rather better than they have walked the walk.

Miller has admitted she would continue to fly but would take fewer baths, while Campbell came under fire from animal rights activists for appearing in real fur just months after endorsing a campaign to ban the use of fur in fashion.

"I'm not criticising people for their motivation, but celebrity endorsement needs to be properly integrated with political campaigns," said Mr Juniper.

An activist's life

* 1960: Born on 24 September to a worker at British Leyland and a waitress in Oxford. Grows up in a council house.

* 1980s: Studies psychology and zoology at Bristol University, then an MSc in nature conservation at University College London.

* 1990: Travels to Brazil and finds the last surviving Spix's macaw birds. In October, he joins Friends of the Earth.

* 1996: Takes over FoE's campaign on transport, GM food and world trade.

* 2002: Leads a slow handclap for the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg as US refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

* 2003: Detained at gunpoint by Swiss police after trying to gatecrash the World Economic Forum in Davos.

* 2007: Draft Climate Change Bill introduced in Parliament. FoE widely credited for influencing its contents.

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit