US president Joe Biden’s climate envoy John Kerry has warned Tory leadership contender Liz Truss not to “jigger” with the UK’s plans to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by slashing green levies which help pay for the transition to clean energy.
Ms Truss has said that she backs the target of Net Zero by 2050, but wants to suspend levies which add 8 per cent to energy bills in order to do it “in a way that doesn’t harm people and businesses”.
But Mr Kerry said that any savings from tax giveaways will be massively outweighed by the cost of extreme weather if global warming is not reined in.
While insisted that he did not want to interfere in the choice of the UK’s next prime minister, he said he would “pointedly and adamantly” advise against any move to water down commitments to carbon reductions confirmed at last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.
Responding to Ms Truss’s plans, he told BBC Radio 4’s World This Weekend: “I obviously don’t want to get involved in the leadership decision with respect to these next weeks and what will happen in the UK.
“But I will say very pointedly and adamantly: We’re behind. We do not have the luxury of jiggering with the 2050 right now, because we are currently headed to a warming of planet somewhere between 2.5 degrees and 3.5 degrees centigrade.
“The world is already warmed to 1.1 – close to 1.2 – degrees. Now, the cushion we have between 1.5 and that is obviously tiny.
“And we see what’s happening with the damages on the planet at 1.1 degrees. Imagine when you get to 1.5.
“Every tenth of a degree that we warm is going to cost us trillions more dollars. So whatever tax-waylaying or giveaway there is now at the expense of climate is going to be absolutely superceded by the cost of damage.”
Ms Truss raised environmentalist concerns when she said in a televised leadership debate: “I back the net zero target. We need to deliver it in a way, though, that doesn’t harm people and businesses.
“That’s why I would have a moratorium on the green levy,. take it out of general taxation so that we can relieve the pressure and find better ways to deliver Net Zero.”