Boris Johnson's climate leadership 'gives me sleepless nights' ahead of COP26, says Green co-leader

The only Green ministers in the United Kingdom have said they do not have confidence note-0the global climate change conference, COP26, will result in meaningful changes to the way the world approaches the environment.

Lorna Slater, one of the Scottish Greens’ co-leaders, said the leadership of Boris Johnson on the climate was “terrifying” and that decisions being made by the UK Government were guaranteeing an “apocalyptic future”.

Alongside fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie, Ms Slater is one of the first politicians from the green movement to be elevated into government.

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The decision by the SNP to enter into a cooperation agreement with the Scottish Greens was labelled “greenwashing” by some opponents and a political ploy to be taken more seriously on environmental issues when global leaders descend on Glasgow for COP26.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose government holds the presidency of COP26

Speaking on Friday before the start of their party conference, both co-leaders poured cold water on the suggestion COP26 could deliver real change on the environment.

Hitting out at Prime Minister’s speech to the UN on climate issues, Ms Slater said Boris Johnson’s climate leadership gives her “sleepless nights”.

“I am not confident that it [COP26] will deliver enough change, fast enough,” she said. “What it needs to deliver is something really radical and different.”

The Lothian MSP added: “We’re in a position of having to make dramatic changes to how we get our energy, how we get around, how we consume, and I don’t know if all the governments around the world understand the scale of what is needed.

The Armadillo, Exhibition Halls and SSE Hydro, on the Scottish Event Campus alongside the River Clyde in Glasgow, which will host the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (Cop26) next month.

"Certainly Boris Johnson and the UK Government give me sleepless nights where he thinks environmentalists are Kermit the Frog while giving out licences for new oil and gas exploration.

“That’s terrifying, that’s condemning us to an apocalyptic future. I think COP26 is our last chance to save planet earth.”

Fellow co-leader Patrick Harvie echoed his colleague’s concerns.

"I wish I could say I was really, really confident,” he said. “I share the sense of anxiety, urgency, impatience and anger that many of the youth climate strike movement articulate so powerfully.”

Reflecting on his mother’s climate activism and her appearance and speech at a George Square demonstration in Glasgow, Mr Harvie said the failure to listen to early voices on the climate emergency necessitated urgent action today.

He said: “If the world had listened to that generation of green activists and to the scientists who were sounding the alarm bells then the changes we needed to make could have been done slowly, easily and calmly and it is only because the world did not listen at that point that we are now in a climate and nature emergency.

"We now have to make changes in our society, here in Scotland and around the world, in a really rapid timescale. We need to do it fairly but we need to do it fast.

"The opportunity to be part of a government that is going to try and make that happen is an awesome responsibility but I hope that the climate strike movement continue to put me under pressure to do better in the same way that we’ve tried to put previous governments under pressure.”

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