HOPE and aspiration will save the planet rather than doom-laden lecturing, Business Secretary said last night.
Kwasi Kwarteng came out swinging at attacks on world leaders jetting into the international climate change conference on their huge planes, saying COP26 has to be face-to-face to work.
He told the Sun top chiefs should take a leaf out of climate warrior Sir David Attenborough’s book and give the public a reason to be hopeful rather than wallowing in Greta Thunberg-style nightmares of the climate apocalypse.
And the top Tory vowed Boris would slash taxes and slapped down calls to whack an extra levy on meat – saying it wouldn’t work.
As he arrives to meet with business chiefs and rally them along to go green, he said the gas-guzzling jets were a price worth paying.
He insisted: “It’s a bit of a cheap shot. How else are they going to come here – by boat?
“We’re having real commitments here.”
And he insisted: “you can get cooperation much more easily face to face than in a zoom call… I think we’re making a lot of progress.”
The Business Sec slammed the doom and gloom narrative surrounding climate change, and said he wanted chiefs to offer the young people of today hope and aspiration about what a green world can deliver.
He said: “I’m not here to be a doomsayer. I think there’s a real opportunity and it’s a great thing for Britain as well. It’s jobs, growth and wealth-creation.”
He slapped down the idea of a meat levy as some of his colleagues have suggested, saying: “I wouldn’t go down the tax route”, but said he had slashed his own meat intake to be healthier and help the planet too.
Mr Kwarteng said China’s net zero goals are a “huge step forward” despite being a decade behind what the UK and other countries around the world are aiming for, because of the huge size of their economy.
He said: “They do believe in it and they’ve got a target.
“We can try and push them as we’re doing, but I think I think that’s a positive message.”
And he is fully behind calls to cut taxes ahead of the next election – after ministers announced plans to whack millions with extra National Insurance to pay for the NHS and social care.
He said: “Absolutely, I want to reduce taxes, I am a low tax conservative.
“We have to get back to conservative things, and reduce tax.
“Our economy is growing faster than almost any country in the G7
“We can drive the growth, we can go back to tax cuts.”
The Cabinet minister also slapped down suggestions of a rift between his Department and the Treasury, saying he was “really happy” with the cash for net zero and it was “pretty much what we asked for.”
Of rumours of simmering tensions with Chancellor Rishi Sunak he stressed: “No, no. We get on very well… we are humming as songbirds, a nest of singing birds.
“We have had some very good conversations, we are very aligned on net zero.”
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