Theresa May must not use Donald Trump’s climate change denial as an excuse to “backslide” on environmental commitments, the Liberal Democrats have said.
In a speech today to the think-tank Policy Exchange Tim Farron accused the Government of being “blinkered by right-wing climate change-sceptics who put warped ideology before common sense”.
Mr Trump has said he is minded to pull the US out of the Paris international climate change agreement. The treaty, signed under President Obama, cemented global emissions cuts.
He has also said that he believes that global warning is a Chinese conspiracy to hobble US manufacturing.
Ms May has held Mr Trump close since his inauguration, inviting him on a state visit and appearing reticent to disagree with his right wing policy stances in public.
Mr Farron said on Wednesday: “The consensus is unravelling. We have a climate change denier in the White House; which provides a reason or an excuse for other countries to backslide a little too.
“We have a Tory Government that went from hugging huskies to dismissing intelligent environmental policies as ‘green crap’, and a Labour Party that has no coherent vision for the environment, industry or the economy.
“The Prime Minister choosing to pander to President Trump hardly makes us any more optimistic that her next choices on climate change will be wisdom over transparent political short-termism.”
The Liberal Democrats are calling for net emissions to be reduced by 100 per cent by 2050 – mirroring a promise made by Sweden. The current level requirement is to reduce net emissions by 80 per cent.
Mr Farron said the measure will help limit a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees rather than 2 degrees.
A BEIS spokesperson said: “Through our ambitious Industrial Strategy Green Paper, the Government is committed to driving growth right across the United Kingdom, using major new investments in infrastructure and research to drive prosperity, creating more high-skilled, high paid jobs and opportunities. We will ensure the supply of secure, affordable and clean energy for businesses and our commitment to tackling global climate change is as strong as ever.
“The UK is the third best country in the world for tackling climate change according to the independent Climate Action Network. We play a leading role internationally and we are delivering on our commitments to create a safer, more prosperous future for us all.”