It’s an interesting time! But with climate-induced heat waves hitting us hard and deadly wars raging around the world, keeping up with everything that’s going on in UK politics right now can be a struggle.

Below, you’ll find our take on what the current political crisis means for us in the climate justice movement. But long story short, neither Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss will do what it takes to tackle the climate crisis. That’s why we need to use this moment to mobilise and build people power for just solutions that match the scale of the crisis we’re in: we need a Green New Deal. 

Add your name now to show your support for a Green New Deal.

First off, a bit of background. Boris Johnson won the last election back in 2019 by a landslide – securing a staggering 80-seat majority, one of the biggest in UK history. Since then his government has overseen the highest COVID death toll in Western Europe, an escalating cost of living crisis, and Johnson himself has gained the honour of being the first sitting Prime Minister to be found guilty of breaking his own laws. [1]

Not. Great.

When it comes to climate action, Johnson’s credentials are no better. Despite being the host nation of the COP26 UN climate talks in 2021, this government has pushed through oil and gas expansion plans and tax breaks[2], scrapped key programmes that would cut carbon and improve energy efficiency[3], and have brought in dangerous new laws to try to prevent effective climate protest.[4]

But finally – after a record-breaking wave of resignations in his own Cabinet – Boris announced he’s leaving and the race began to replace him as Conservative leader and Prime Minister. Given what we’ve seen of Johnson’s government – surely this can only be good news for climate action?

Unfortunately, we’re not so sure.

The final two candidates are not filling us with hope (and this is maybe the understatement of the year!).

First up, we have Rishi Sunak – the multi-millionaire former Chancellor. In his period as the man holding the purse strings, he time and time again failed to provide real solutions for the urgent financial crisis facing millions of people right now. Going into this winter, nearly half the population is expected to face fuel poverty. The costs of food, energy, housing and other basic needs continue to soar while wages stagnate and Sunak’s action so far have done almost nothing to help. On climate, he is widely known to be one of the key government blockers to the action we urgently need.[5]

Next, we have Liz Truss – former Foreign Secretary and one-time employee of mega-polluter Shell. In her time in government, Truss has cut subsidies for solar power and pushed a ‘free-trade’ agenda that’s included arguing to loosen employment protections and signing weapons trading deals with dictatorships. [6]

And in the debate around the leadership contest so far, things aren’t looking much better. The truly urgent issues facing this country are nowhere to be seen.

While Truss and Sunak focus on their transphobic credentials[7], and battling over who can cut corporate taxes the most [8] – meaningful pledges to cut the cost of living, provide urgent poverty relief, and tackle the climate crisis are nowhere to be found.

While what’s happening inside the walls of Parliament might not give us much hope, out in the streets, momentum is building. Groups of people are organising and building people power to demand and create the future we need.

Right now, trade unions across the country are gearing up for a summer of strikes. Rail and airline staff, teachers and refuse workers are among the people getting ready to take action. As a new government takes charge, we need to remember that it’s not the Prime Minister who holds the power. It is ordinary people like us, working together.

Boris Johnson is on his way out, but all signs point to business as usual at the top of government.

As we struggle to get through this summer of heatwaves and a winter of fuel poverty, we can’t rely on whoever is elected to bring us the action we need. That is up to us.

To win, we need to build a society that works for everyone. That’s why we’re working to build a movement of people pushing for a Green New Deal. A Green New Deal that includes investments in safe and climate-resilient homes, poverty elimination and a transition away from climate-wrecking fossil fuels to clean renewables.

Are you in? Add your name now to support a Green New Deal!

  1. iNews
  2. The National
  3. The Guardian
  4. Liberty
  5. iNews
  6. Politico and Defense News
  7. Pink News
  8. Bloomberg


For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram