Michael Gove – the most powerful figure in the UK government after Boris Johnson – has made a speech berating President Donald Trump for not doing enough about ‘climate change.’
But Trump is unlikely to notice, let alone care. Most Americans just don’t see climate change as a credible problem.
Here is the evidence: a 2019 poll showing that for the 13th year running, ‘dealing with global climate change’ comes right near the bottom of Americans’ political priorities.
Top three concerns, according to the Pew Research Center were:
- Strengthening the economy
- Reducing health care costs
- Improving the education system
Climate change, Donna Laframboise reminds us, came in at 17, second from bottom of a long list including terrorism, a financially sound social security system, Medicare, and dealing with the poor and needy. It will be the same when Pew releases its annual poll this year. Every time, climate change comes either bottom or second from bottom.
Moral of the story: There has never been any evidence that climate change is a top concern for most Americans. This is not a crowd pleaser or a vote getter.
This, in turn, has massive implications for the post-Brexit Special Relationship between Britain and the US.
If, as seems most likely, it will be a case of four more years of President Trump trying to forge links with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, then the two men are going to be pulling in opposite directions.
One, Trump, will be leading a fossil fuel economy — the world’s largest by energy production — benefiting from the massive competitive advantage of using cheap, abundant energy, freed (thanks to Trump) from the shackles of the Paris Climate Accord.
The other, Johnson, will be leading an economy which has chosen to prioritise virtue-signalling over efficiency, hobbled by any number of green targets, regulations, misallocations of capital and crony-capitalist boondoggles; crippled by needlessly high energy costs. And with his most able minister Michael Gove in charge — and rumoured to be the man chosen, inter alia, to head Britain’s hosting of the COP26 climate summit — it’s a racing certainty that Britain’s green-managed decline will be handled with great efficiency.
I’m really not sure that this was quite the post-Brexit vision Trump had in mind when he promised Britain a ‘fantastic’ and ‘very big’ trade deal once it managed to extricate itself from the European Union.
I’m fairly sure he had in mind that Britain would become a freebooting, free-market player in the manner of Trump’s America.
What I’m most certain he didn’t have in mind is that he’d be at the receiving end of finger-wagging lectures from Boris’s Chief Operating Officer Gove, as delivered at a conference of the mostly hard-left eco-loon gathering, the Green Alliance.
According to the Guardian‘s report:
Using his speech to call for concerted global action on the climate emergency at the summit, Gove noted the lack of efforts on the issue by President Trump and the Brazilian leader, Jair Bolsonaro.
“I shan’t mention any world leaders by name in a critical fashion,” he began. “However, it’s important in the United States and in Brazil that we recognise that there will be people, at the state and at the city level, who can play a vital role in driving change that we all need to see.”
Predicting that nonetheless COP 26 would be a success, Gove pointed to what he called “politically, a realisation of the scale of the challenge and the emergency” across the globe.
Trump’s America produces approximately 14 per cent of global CO2 emissions; Brazil about 1.5 per cent; India 7 per cent; and China nearly 30 per cent. Since none of these economies has any intention of “driving change” on the CO2 production front any time soon, it will put Boris Johnson’s attempts to take Britain’s economy Net Zero by 2050 into tragic, painful and embarrassing perspective.
Britain’s economy produces around 1 per cent of global CO2 emissions.
Unilaterally decarbonising it — as seems to be Johnson’s and Gove’s wizard plan; entirely uncosted as these ‘a unicorn for every household’ schemes always are — must surely count among the most suicidally pointless plan ever devised by any government in history, especially by one wearing the ‘Conservative’ tag.
If Trump weren’t such an admirer of Britain he would probably find it very funny. As it is, he more likely thinks it’s very sad.
And it is.