Chris Packham Accuses Government Of 'Cooking The Books' Around Climate Targets

Chris Packham criticised the government over its climate targets
Chris Packham criticised the government over its climate targets BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg

Chris Packham accused the government of “cooking the books” when a minister claimed they have exceeded their climate targets this morning.

The wildlife TV presenter and conservationist slammed the Conservatives after energy secretary Claire Coutinho claimed the UK was the first country of the top 20 largest economies to “have halved our carbon emissions”.

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Packham said: “Our government’s policies at the moment are not only cooking the planet – they’re justifying that by cooking the books.”

He claimed that the government is not actually ahead of its climate targets, as Coutinho claimed.

He pointed out that exporting fossil fuels – for instance, coal from the proposed Cumbria coal mine – just means those carbon emissions will be released elsewhere in the world.

He said: “The total carbon cost when it comes to our country’s achievements is not calculated and nor do they calculate what is imported into the country.”

Packham also claimed that any extra leeway the government is giving to people right now by delaying net zero targets is only going impact their children and grandchildren.

Packham said: “What we need is a just transition over a period of time, so that can become affordable.

“What wasn’t mentioned in any of these conversations were the grotesque profits that are being made by our energy companies, our oil companies and gas companies, at a time when there is a very high degree of volatility in that market which has driven the cost of living crisis.”

The conservationist also recalled David Cameron’s alleged call for his ministers to “cut the green crap” back in 2013, when he was PM.

Packham said that if we had pursued green policies then, we would have been ahead with our renewable energy sources, which are cheaper and more resilient with pricing.

Packham’s criticism came after the official climate watchdog, the Climate Change Committee, said prime minister Rishi Sunak has “set us back” when it comes to tackling the crisis.

The prime minister rowed back on green pledges last September, delaying the ban on sale of new petrol and diesel cars, and postponing the ban on phasing out gas boilers.