British Conservative Party leadership candidates have been accused of downplaying the climate crisis

LONDON – Britain is now the land of two parallel universes.

In one of them, the country sank in it Two days of brutal sweltering heatshattering 360-year-old temperature records, creating a spark Unprecedented wildfires And stop the daily life of many.

in the other universe Conservative Party Leadership Contest – Where’s the world? Global Warming Barely mentioned at all.

The winner automatically becomes Prime Minister, followed by Boris Johnson scandal led to resignation This month, environmental policy is likely to guide the world’s sixth largest economy in years.

For now, those vying for the premiership are accused of ignoring climate change and this week’s heat wave.

It’s a “contest for leadership that is so far removed from reality,” said Tim Bell, a professor of politics at Queen Mary University of London, who ranked some of the candidates’ promises about tax cuts as equally fanciful. “They just don’t want to talk about it because, inevitably, it would involve some sacrifice and upheaval for people.”

British Foreign Secretary, and aspiring to lead, Liz Truss during a cabinet meeting at No. 10 Downing Street on Tuesday. Stephane Rousseau/AFP – Getty Images

Bell and other experts say the reason for this green prevarication is not necessarily ideological, but rather election propaganda.

Climate science denial is a rare occurrence in mainstream British politics. The remaining leadership candidates – Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Benny Mordaunt – have all committed to keeping Britain’s goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 2050, same Washington.

But like many in the centre-right party, they have been loudly concerned about the supposed economic risks of being seen as too zealous about the environment. And that’s on the rare moments they ever discuss it.

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“If we go too hard and too fast” toward net zero “we’re going to lose people,” Sunak, the current contestant, warned during an ITV News debate this week. Truss said she wanted to find better ways to achieve the goal that “doesn’t hurt individuals and businesses.” Meanwhile, Mordaunt said green policies “should not hit the people.”

These candidates know that ordinary British voters are genuinely concerned about the environment, with the economy and health care only considering the issues most important to the general public, according to Weekly survey by YouGov poll.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of the UK’s 48 million registered voters, they have no say in choosing their next leader. Instead, the winner will be chosen by 350 individual legislators and 200,000 members ruling conservative party.

That’s less than 0.3% of the population, a small subgroup that leans to the right of the British political centre. 97% of Conservative members are white – about 10% higher than the rest of the UK – and tend to be wealthier, older men who live in the affluent southeast.

Few prioritize reducing carbon emissions, with only 4% considering net zero to be the most important task for their next leader, another YouGov survey found this week. The top priority was simply hitting Opposition Labor Party In the upcoming elections, The poll was conducted for the British newspaper The Times He said.

Many economists, climate scientists, and activists say this is a false dichotomy between climate and economics: If anything is destroying the economy, it is the very slow progress in halting the climate crisis.

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That reality came to the fore for Britain this week as it stands He broke the temperature recordThe temperature hit 104 degrees Fahrenheit Tuesday, making it hotter than 98% of the planet’s surface.

Much of this temperate archipelago has been discontinued with little to no air conditioning. the government Advise people to stay at home Millions pulled down their curtains in a futile attempt to keep the heat out. Many live in brick houses built in the 19th century that were designed to stay warm, not cold.

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