Greta Thunberg has rubbished Boris Johnson’s promises of a ‘green revolution’ after the government approved the use of a bee killing pesticide and a new coal mine.
The Prime Minister has presented himself as being at the head of efforts to green the global economy with, for example, promises of huge reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Ministers have claimed that Britain’s exit from the EU allows them to put the environment at the heart of farm and food policy with Michael Gove saying: ‘The principal public good we will invest in is environmental enhancement.’
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg, 18, (pictured) questioned the UK’s ‘green revolution’ after Boris Johnson’s government approved a bee killing pesticide ‘so poisonous that it is banned by the EU’
However, Greta, the 18-year-old climate change activist with 4.4million followers, suggests the actions of the UK government are at odds with these promises.
Greta had a series of clashes with Donald Trump over his refusal to accept the dangers of man-made climate change and it appears her attention has now turned to the credibility of Boris Johnson.
She was moved to speak out after the food and farming Secretary, George Eustice, gave British farmers permission to use a pesticide that is a known risk to bees and is banned by the EU as a matter of policy.
Taking to Twitter, she wrote: ‘UK government has announced ‘a bee-killing pesticide so poisonous that it is banned by the EU’ may be used in England.
‘New coal mines and pesticides… the UK’s so called ‘green industrial revolution’ is off to a great start.’
She questioned the government’s claims and motives, adding: ‘Very credible indeed.’
The Prime Minister (pictured) has presented himself as being at the head of efforts to green the global economy. However, Greta suggests the actions of the UK government are at odds with these promises
The tweet triggered a backlash against the government and the setting up of a petition calling on ministers to reverse the decision.
Comedian and former Bake Off presenter, Sue Perkins, called on people to sign the petition, saying: ‘I am so sick of the endless, endless lies.’
The controversy involves a decision to allow sugar beet farmers in the UK to use a neonicotinoid chemical called thiamethoxam to treat seed in an effort to protect the crop from a virus.
The authorisation to use the chemical for up to 120 days was sought by the National Farmers’ Union and British Sugar, whose managing director is Paul Kenward. He is married to the Conservative MP and Home Office minister, Victoria Atkins.
Backers of the chemical argue that, despite the official EU ban, some member states have approved its temporary use under emergency powers.
Critics of the government’s decision include the Wildlife Trusts, which tweeted: ‘Bad news for bees: The government has bowed to pressure from the National Farmers Union to agree the use of a highly damaging pesticide.
‘The government know the clear harm that neonicotinoid pesticides cause to bees and other pollinators and just three years ago supported restrictions on them across the European Union.
‘Insects perform vital roles such as pollination of crops and wildflowers, and nutrient recycling, but so many have suffered drastic declines.’
Just last week, environment campaigners attacked a government decision to permit the country’s first new deep coal mine for 30 years, despite its pledge to eliminate net carbon emissions by 2050.
The pit in Cumbria, north-west England, would create 500 jobs in an area reliant on the nuclear industry and seasonal tourism.
The decision not to block the scheme by the housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, is seen by environmentalists as a sign that the Conservative party will prioritise economic growth over climate change.
The tweet to her with 4.4million followers triggered a backlash against the government and the setting up of a petition calling on ministers to reverse the decision which the Wildlife Trusts called ‘bad news for bees’ (stock image)
The government has also used Brexit to press ahead with the development of GM – Frankenstein food production – which could involve editing the genes of crops and farm animals.
Historically, UK governments have backed moves by the US get the EU to accept GM crops and food. By contrast, governments on the Continent, together with Scotland and Wales, have been far more sceptical.
A Defra spokesman defended the decision to approve the sugar beet chemical, saying: ‘Emergency authorisations for pesticides are only granted in exceptional circumstances where diseases or pests cannot be controlled by any other reasonable means. Emergency authorisations are used by countries across Europe.
‘Pesticides can only be used where we judge there to be no harm to human health and animal health, and no unacceptable risks to the environment. The temporary use of this product is strictly limited to a non-flowering crop and will be tightly controlled to minimise any potential risk to pollinators.’