Michael Gove to spend summer holidays in Greece despite wildfires raging on …
Michael Gove has been described as a “monster” for not taking green policies serious enough, Zac Goldsmith has said.
In an interview with the Guardian, the former international environment minister, who resigned from his post in June citing environmental concerns, also said Grant Shapps, the energy and net zero secretary, is taking “backward steps”.
“Michael is one of the most intelligent people in politics, whether you love him or hate him. He’s got a big brain, and he understands these issues,” Goldsmith said.
“I don’t think you can understand and care about the gravity of this issue, and at the same time, be willing to take your foot off the accelerator for political expediency. I just think that would require you to be a monster.”
As for Shapps, he added: “Grant gets very animated when he talks about climate change, and the new technologies.
“So on one level, he likes to see himself as being at the cutting edge and sort of enthusiastic about this transition. But then, you know, we see him relapsing into a kind of caricature of a climate sceptic. I don’t think he is remotely a climate sceptic. I think he understands the gravity of the situation, so to see this kind of backward step is hugely disappointing.”
He also had some harsh words for prime minister Rishi Sunak, saying: “He’s not a bad man. He’s not someone who’s hostile to these issues, but he has no authentic interest whatsoever. Maybe something will happen which will make him realise that this stuff really matters. Sometimes it takes an event or a particular piece of news or something for people to wake up to these issues. I find it very hard to relate to people who don’t see the importance of a viable healthy planet.”
Despite being a Brexit backer, Goldsmith also said the policy could be environmentally damaging if government rollback climate protections.
“Brexit really was about giving the government or the country freedom to do things that it couldn’t do before. But that also includes freedom to do stupid things, and as we have seen, in the wrong hands, those freedoms can be used for environmentally negative things,” he said.
However he thinks the policy will still pay dividends. He added: “Even if the government today is backing away from these issues, which I just so wish they weren’t but they are, I think public pressure and democracy will push subsequent governments back in line and back in the right direction.”
Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.