Guest essay by Eric Worrall
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sharply attacked Extinction Rebellion in a speech at a London book launch.
Boris Johnson attacks climate change protesters blocking streets
Prime minister urges ‘unco-operative crusties’ to abandon ‘hemp-smelling bivouacs’
Camilla Hodgson in London
The UK prime minister’s comments, made on Monday evening, came hours after thousands of demonstrators led by activist group Extinction Rebellion took to the streets of London as well as more than 60 cities worldwide, including Paris, Sydney and Toronto, in what they billed as the start of a two-week “October revolution”.
Mr Johnson made the comments on Monday while speaking at a book launch for a biography of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whom he said had warned about climate change. He said he had been advised not to attend the event, since “unco-operative crusties” were “littering” the roads.
“I hope that when we go out from this place tonight and we are waylaid by importunate nose-ringed climate change protesters, we remind them that she was also right about greenhouse gases.”
Labour peer Andrew Adonis called the prime minister a “total disgrace” for spending the evening making dismissive comments at the book launch while Brexit was at “crunch point”. Politicians including shadow chancellor John McDonnell, Green party MP Caroline Lucas and Labour MP Clive Lewis voiced their support for Extinction Rebellion protesters.
Its a shame Boris Johnson is such a green. His government might disagree with Extinction Rebellion’s methods, but it largely supports their objectives.
The Boris Johnson government has committed Britain to 100% clean energy by 2050, though to be fair the UK government is also making large investments in nuclear fusion research. As we all know practical nuclear fusion power has been just 20 years away since the 1970s.
Legendary British PM Margaret Thatcher, for all the good she did, was a significant advocate of climate action. Her 1989 UN speech urging climate action helped raise international awareness. Thatcher set up the Hadley Centre, one of the UK’s leading climate research centers.