Boris Johnson, like David Cameron, has started out talking the green talk. Standards here in the UK, post the BREXIT transition, are going to be higher. Net zero is embraced wholeheartedly. But one month into the brave new world, how is it going? There are some straws in the wind: the decision to allow the use of neonics, and ensure that no flowers blossom for a considerable period afterwards; not following the EU in banning waste exports; opting for the very inferior UK Emissions Trading Scheme over a carbon tax. None of these speaks to higher standards.
The intentions are no doubt genuine, as they were for David Cameron, and laced with good politics, trying to corral the green vote to the benefit of the Conservative Party. But walking the walk runs into a brick wall for the government: the PM is not prepared to make us consumers – and hence voters – pay for the necessary changes. Bills can’t be allowed to go up, and farmers must be protected from the consequences of their pollution. Walking the walk is proving a lot tougher - there are choices and costs of moving from living beyond our environmental means to living within them, and it is not right to borrow, spend and then dump on the next generation the costs of both the debt and the pollution.