UK bypasses Donald Trump to discuss climate change with US city mayors directly

Claire Perry, the Climate Change Minister, says British Government is now speaking to 'other players' in US about how to fight global warming

Ian Johnston
Environment Correspondent
Tuesday 25 July 2017 14:21 BST
Rail Minister Claire Perry said Scotland should not be offered “promises of financial party bags”
Rail Minister Claire Perry said Scotland should not be offered “promises of financial party bags” (Getty Images)

The UK has started bypassing Donald Trump over climate change, talking directly to city mayors and other officials committed to trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the new Climate Change Minister has revealed.

Claire Perry, who was appointed to the post after the general election last month, said that British ministers had not “missed an opportunity” to tell the US President that they were disappointed he had decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, the news service Bloomberg reported.

She said she had been speaking to “other players” in the US, including the mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, who visited the UK last week.

Ms Perry suggested the UK could steal a march on the US economy because of its leadership role in trying to limit global warming, as the world shifts to a low-carbon economy.

“The UK is ranked third in the world in tackling climate change,” she said.

“I think we need to exploit and take that leadership position because we can change the world doing this and we can also generate highly productive jobs.

“I look at this and see it’s the way the world is going, so it’s not just about British businesses, it’s about global mega-trends, so how do we seize that opportunity to decarbonise our own economy and help other countries.”

Mr Turner is a co-chair of Climate Mayors, a group of 331 leading local politicians who have pledged to work to ensure the US meeting the Paris Agreement’s targets, despite the White House’s opposition.

Speaking in Miami in June, the Houston mayor said: “As the energy capital of the world, it's our responsibility to find sustainable ways to power the future.

“By investing in green power, improving building efficiency, and revitalising our green spaces, Houston is proof that large industrial cities can act on climate and maintain a robust, growing economy.”

There has been a marked change in rhetoric from UK ministers.

In May, Labour accused Theresa May of having a “pact of silence” with Mr Trump over the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement as other European leaders made their displeasure clear.

But Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, recently attacked the US over the decision, saying it could not “simply walk out of the room when the heat is on”.

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