COP26: 'I've done more for the environment than the Scottish Greens ever have', says Lib Dem leader

Sir Ed Davey has claimed he did more to benefit the environment during his stint as secretary of state for energy and climate change than the Scottish Greens ever have.

In a fierce attack, the Liberal Democrat leader, who is set to travel to the global climate change conference COP26 and attend on Friday, labelled criticism of Greenpeace by senior Green figures such as Patrick Harvie and Ross Greer as “staggering”.

He said he could not believe the Greens had agreed to enter government with the SNP due to the latter’s support of a third runway at Heathrow and for the party’s focus on the constitution.

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Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said he has done more for the environment than the Scottish Greens.

Mr Davey said: “I was really disappointed that the Scottish Greens turned up at Glasgow to talk about nationalism and independence when it is the most significant climate change summit probably we’ve ever had.

"And then to moan about Greenpeace, who have done more to tackle environmental challenges than the Green party ever have.

"When I was secretary of state I listened to Greenpeace, I didn’t moan about them. I engaged with them, I met them, I often did a lot of things they wanted me to do.

"When climate change is an emergency, for the Scottish Greens to support a government that’s extending the third runway at Heathrow, to focus more on independence than climate change, and to moan about one of the world’s leading environmental NGOs, I think they’ve just got it wrong.”

Asked whether he believed he had done more to benefit the environment than the Scottish Greens ever had, Mr Davey said that is “demonstrably the case” and highlighted his record on wind power.

Speaking to Scottish journalists, he added: “The reason why coal is almost off the bars, and it would have been off the bars if I’d have got my way in one final negotiation with [former Chancellor] George Osborne, but he refused to go that final little bit, is because of the offshore wind industry.

"I was being told that it’s way too expensive and I had to push them hard. I got criticised by the National Audit Office and by the Tories, but I pushed ahead as secretary of state and now we are the world leaders in offshore wind.

"We have nearly quadrupled renewable power in the UK thanks the Liberal Democrats.

"I can’t remember the Greens anywhere near that. In fact, they were nowhere near that.

"If we listened to the Greens, they would have nationalised everything and wouldn’t have managed to get the tens of billions of pounds that we got through partnership with the private sector.”

Responding, Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said Ed Davey was “in no place to lecture on green credentials”.

He said: “Ed Davey was a minister in a coalition government which abandoned the Lib Dems position on nuclear power and pulled the rug out from solar energy, after which he accepted a knighthood for his services to returning the planet-wrecking Tories in power.

"Greenpeace and the Scottish Greens are absolutely united in believing there is no place for new oil and gas expansion. The Lib Dems position is less clear.

"Lib Dems flip flop on fracking and even oppose new cycle lanes locally. It is very hard to know what they stand for, which is why they only returned half the MSPs the Greens did in May’s election.”

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