Campaigners react to Farage’s anti net zero campaign

Right-wing commentator’s latest plans getting short shrift as fossil fuel markets reel after Ukraine invasion

Harry Cockburn
Environment Correspondent
Monday 07 March 2022 17:30 GMT
Nigel Farage has claimed the UK’s net zero ambitions mean the old will die colder poorer sooner
Nigel Farage has claimed the UK’s net zero ambitions mean the old will die colder poorer sooner (Getty Images)

Amid the worsening climate crisis, the devastating Russian invasion of Ukraine, and as energy prices surge, Nigel Farage has announced he is running a campaign calling for a referendum on the UK’s net zero emissions plans.

Despite scientists, economists and a broad array of experts repeatedly warning that accessing the UK’s shale gas deposits will not only add to the climate-altering gases in our atmosphere, but are insufficient to reduce the cost of gas to households, this is exactly what Mr Farage’s campaign is also calling for.

On Twitter, Mr Farage said his Vote Power Not Poverty campaign was "designed to kill off Boris Johnson’s ruinous green agenda".

The campaign’s website is littered with unsubstantiated claims that the UK’s legally-binding 2050 net zero target will have a range of negative effects, including that "it will make the older be colder and poorer due to higher energy bills", "will harm young people and future generations with fewer jobs, higher bills and less money", and that "net zero will damage businesses with higher energy costs, meaning lower growth and less jobs, leading to a weaker economy."

The reaction to Mr Farage’s follow up to his wildly successful campaign for the UK to leave the European Union has been mixed.

Film star Hugh Grant lead the initial charge, telling Mr Farage to "go f*** yourself".

Former England footballer turned pundit, Gary Lineker said: "So the usual suspects are now shifting their focus to go against us achieving net zero in the future. Actually campaigning for our species to wipe itself out. Extraordinary."

Campaign group Insulate Britain suggested Mr Farage was "betraying his country by trying to delay action".

"People must and will see through this complete bulls***. There will be no remain style campaign Nige, only furious honesty."

Science, long-term economic prosperity, human health and the health of our planet are all among the forces and factors which are not on Mr Farage’s side, nonetheless the prospect of fraught debate over the issue the UN has described as "the most serious threat modern humans have ever faced", is already proving to be a considerable concern.

"Climate change doesn’t wait for politics," said Carla Denyer, the co-leader of the Green Party.

She urged Mr Johnson "not to be fooled by climate-sceptic Conservative MPs and right-wing commentators who are now using the travesty of war in Ukraine as an opportunistic attempt to further their pro-fossil fuel views".

“To deliberately increase our reliance on fossil fuels at this time would not only seriously impact our efforts to tackle climate change, it would leave us even more exposed to the whims of dictators and tyrannous individuals seeking to exploit such frailties now and in the future," she said.

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