In the city of London, according to Reuters, On Friday, Zac Goldsmith, the British international environment minister, tendered his resignation, citing the loss of Britain’s global leadership position on climate issues and expressing his dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s lack of interest in environmental matters.
Goldsmith is perceived as an ally of former prime minister Boris Johnson, thereby positioning himself on the opposing side of a significant division within the ruling Conservative Party, in contrast to Sunak.
Goldsmith, a parliament’s upper chamber member and former Minister of State for Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate, and Environment, expressed that the issue lies not in the government’s antagonism towards the environment but in the Prime Minister’s lack of interest.
Sunak’s office provided no immediate comment.
According to Goldsmith’s resignation letter, shared on Twitter, Britain has noticeably disengaged from global affairs and relinquished its role in addressing climate change and environmental issues.
The statement above aligns with the findings of a recent report released by the government’s climate advisors. According to the report, Britain’s status as a frontrunner in global climate action has diminished, and its efforts to achieve its mid-century net zero targets are deemed insufficient.
The report from the Climate Change Committee also emphasized the recent approval to initiate the construction of a new coal mine and the endorsement of new British oil and gas extraction activities.
Before Sunak assumed leadership, the United Kingdom garnered international acclaim in 2021 for facilitating a global climate agreement during the COP26 summit in Glasgow.
After the office, Sunak initiated his non-participation in the 2022 COP summit. However, he subsequently reversed his decision in response to criticism.
However, Sunak has established a novel governmental department responsible for overseeing the nation’s net-zero plan. Additionally, he has emphasized the significance of fostering growth within environmentally-friendly sectors as a crucial component of Britain’s economic prospects.
On Friday, in the wake of Goldsmith’s resignation, the government made a timely announcement regarding establishing a new fund worth several million pounds. The primary objective of this fund is to facilitate the creation and restoration of habitats that are abundant in wildlife.
After he resigned from parliament earlier this month, several of Johnson’s supporters have become more vocal in their criticism of the government. This decision was made in response to a report that revealed his deliberate misleading of lawmakers regarding COVID lockdown parties.
On Thursday, Goldsmith received a reprimand from a parliamentary committee due to the behavior of a group of Johnson allies. The committee criticized this group for attempting to intimidate the panel that had previously charged Goldsmith’s conduct during the lockdown period.