Theresa May fails to attend meeting with Greta Thunberg
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Image Credit: Middle East Monitor from Arno Mikkor on Flickr
The meeting between Greta Thunberg and party leaders in Westminster on Tuesday saw Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, the Lib Dem’s Sir Vince Cable, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Scottish National Party’s Ian Blackford and Plaid Cymru’s Liz Saville Roberts meet with the young environmental activist. Despite being sent an invitation, the organisers said that they received no response from Theresa May, who was instead chairing a Cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street. May’s official spokesman said he was “not aware” of any such request. Last July, May announced a bill to protect the environment, promising to leave the world in a better state over the next 25 years. In January 2019, she spoke of the intrinsic and extrinsic value of our natural environment in a speech at the Wetlands Centre, crediting it for bringing in tourism and stating that "now is the right time to put the question of how we protect and enhance our natural environment centre-stage".
Despite this announcement, the climate crisis has been placed on the back-burner over Brexit troubles over the last year. Theresa May's history when it comes to action against climate change is chequered. According to The Independent, in July 2016, she announced the "decision to abolish the Department for Energy and Climate Change". Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, who was present at the talks with Thunberg on Tuesday, resonded to the announcement, saying it was "deeply worrying".
Image Credit: Greta Thunberg, via Common Dreams
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However, Thunberg does seem to have commanded some positive attention to the cause of environmental damage within the walls of Westminster. In a powerful speech to parliament, she called the UK’s approach to energy “absurd” and singled out the country for its “mind-blowing historical carbon debt”. In one of the most powerful parts of her speech, she stated that “the basic problem is that basically nothing is being done to halt – or even slow – climate and ecological breakdown, despite all the beautiful words and promises.” The events of the last couple of weeks may have finally been the wake-up call the government needed to look up at the urgency of climate change, with Thunberg’s speech leading Gove to admit his feelings of “responsibility and guilt” while ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband said Thunberg had “woken us up.” It is unclear what the meeting between Thunberg and the party leaders will amount to, but the pressure is doubtlessly on for the government to make marked steps towards environmental change. Lead Image: World Economic Forum on Flickr
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