Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has promised the UK government will urge the new US administration to take its responsibilities on tackling climate change seriously.
Speaking today in the House of Commons, Johnson cautioned against “premature” judgements condemning the Trump administration on climate change, warning they are not in the national interest and could threaten the UK’s ability to influence US actions.
Johnson was responding to a question from Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, who asked whether Prime Minister Theresa May would have the “moral backbone” to warn Trump against pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement during her visit to the States in January.
“I really must say to the right honourable lady that I believe she is being premature in her hostile judgements of the administration elect, and any such premature verdict I believe could be damaging to the interests of this country,” Johnson said. “It is important for us in this country to use our influence, which is very considerable, to help the United States to see its responsibilities, as I am sure they will.”
Johnson said the new administration should be judged by its actions in office, and promised the UK government will raise the issue of climate change with Trump in the coming months.
“When it comes to climate change this is something that the UK has led on globally, we have had outstanding success,” he said. “It is a message that we will be taking to the administration to be that we believe it to be important, we believe it to be in the interest of the United States and in the world.”
The Foreign Secretary’s comments follow the UN climate talks in Marrakesh, which were dominated by fears the US would renege on its commitments under the Paris Treaty.
World leaders urged Trump to soften his stance on the climate treaty, with the Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama offering to host the President-elect so he could see for himself the effects of global warming on the island nation.
During the campaign Trump repeatedly pledged to “cancel” the Paris Agreement, slash US spending on climate action, and torch a host of domestic environmental regulations in a bid to revitalise the coal industry. Since his shock election victory he has also appointed a number of climate sceptics and fossil fuel industry lobbyists to his transition team, fuelling fears he intends to deliver on his campaign promises.
However, Trump is yet to make any comment on climate change since becoming President-elect.