LibLink: Recalling Michael Gove is an act of environmental vandalism – Ed Davey

In an article in The Guardian Ed Davey writes:

Perhaps Theresa May has a sense of mischief after all. Putting Michael Gove in charge of the Department of the Environment is much like putting a wolf in charge of the chicken coop. To say that the Gove pulse is unlikely to race too much faster over environmental concerns would, from my experience of working with him, be an understatement. He probably regards global warming as an excuse to reduce winter fuel payments.

May bringing in her old enemy demonstrates her crippling weakness. This desperate attempt to buy off those who might bring her down may help her own survival for another few months. Sadly, it will do nothing to help the survival of the planet.

Ed recalls his spats with Gove during the Coalition:

When I was energy and climate change secretary I sat around a cabinet table with Gove, and he couldn’t help playing to the Tory climate-sceptic audience. As education secretary, he tried to ban climate change from the geography curriculum. After an angry exchange of letters with me, he eventually backed down.

On another occasion, he stopped Amber Rudd – my then junior minister – from attending a critical climate change conference under the pretence of needing her for a vote in parliament.

He speculates on the damage that could be caused:

Thankfully, Gove will not have primary responsibility for Britain’s climate change efforts, which fall mainly to the energy department. But he will take charge of our environmental and land management policies – including designing a British replacement for farming subsidies – and drawing these up without a genuine commitment to tackling climate change would be a huge mistake. After his promise for £350m a week extra for the NHS, we wait to see whether he seeks to keep EU farming subsidies.

He could also be a danger on transposing EU environmental regulations into British law. We know he has a natural inclination to reduce regulation. This could endanger efforts to reduce air pollution or protect habitats if he fails to keep the protections on which we rely.

And finally:

I call on Gove to release a clear statement acknowledging climate change is real; that he’ll do everything he can to tackle environmental problems, such as air pollution and flooding; and that, on this at least, he might humbly listen to experts.

You can read the full article here.

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