Logo
    Search

    Rishi Sunak, net zero and Europe – Politics Weekly UK podcast

    en-gbSeptember 21, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • British PM Rolls Back Some Net Zero TargetsPM Rishi Sunak delayed new gas boiler sales ban, pushed back deadlines for selling new petrol/diesel cars, and dropped energy efficiency targets for homes.

      British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a rollback of some of the government's net zero targets during an emergency press conference on Wednesday. The move, aimed at pleasing certain factions within the Conservative Party and addressing the cost of living crisis, has brought criticism from environmentalists and big businesses alike. The changes include delaying the end of new gas boiler sales and pushing back the deadline for selling new petrol and diesel cars. Sunak also announced that energy efficiency targets for homeowners and landlords will no longer be required. While some see this as a shift of tone and language around climate, others view it as a significant policy shift that could have long-term implications for the UK's commitment to reducing carbon emissions. The debate around these changes is expected to continue, with clarity and fairness being key considerations.

    • Unexpected move by UK PM on net zero target causes stir within Conservative PartyThe UK PM's unexpected decision to abandon the net zero target during the Conservative Party's recess has caused internal debates, disagreements, and uncertainty about the government's climate policies, affecting businesses and political parties alike.

      The UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's decision to abandon the net zero target during the Conservative Party's recess has caused a significant stir within the party and raised questions about its commitment to climate policies. The announcement was unexpected and came at a time when MPs were preparing for their conference, leading to speculation about internal debates and disagreements within the cabinet. The move has been met with strong reactions from some Conservative MPs with an interest in climate policies, and the speaker of the House of Commons even considered recalling parliament to discuss the issue. The decision has also created a challenge for the opposition Labour Party, which will need to decide whether to hold firm on their net zero commitment or adopt a more lenient stance to avoid being portrayed as a party that would increase bills for voters. The uncertainty surrounding the government's climate policies has also raised concerns among businesses about instability and unpredictability. Overall, the situation highlights the complexity of balancing economic considerations with environmental goals and the potential for political division on this issue.

    • Europe's Political Shift: Far-Left, Far-Right, and Anti-Establishment GainsEurope faces a political divide, with a third of voters supporting parties addressing immigration, Euroscepticism, nationalism, economic insecurity, mistrust of the state, and opposition to green initiatives

      Europe is experiencing a significant shift in political allegiances, with a third of voters now supporting far-left, far-right, or anti-establishment parties. These parties capitalize on growing voter insecurities and a sense of lack of control, promising solutions to issues like immigration, Euroscepticism, nationalism, economic insecurity, and mistrust of the state. The green transition and its associated costs have added to these concerns, sparking a backlash against environmental policies in some countries. European governments are grappling with the need to address climate change while mitigating public opposition, leading to debates over the role of traditional industries and the implementation of green initiatives. This complex political landscape underscores the need for nuanced understanding and thoughtful policy responses.

    • Balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability during the green transitionPolicymakers must navigate the complexities of the green transition, balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability while addressing the underlying causes of populism.

      The transition to a green economy presents a delicate balance for governments between economic growth and environmental sustainability. While companies are moving towards net zero emissions, individuals are growing increasingly anxious about the personal costs of the transition. This anxiety can be exploited by populist politicians, especially during a cost of living crisis. The rise of populism, however, predates these issues and stems from a broader disillusionment with mainstream politics and its perceived failure to address major problems over the last decade. The breakdown of multiple consensuses, including cultural and economic, following events like 9.11 and the 2008 financial crisis, has contributed to this disillusionment. Policymakers must navigate this complex landscape, balancing the urgent need for climate action with the potential negative impacts on people's lives, while also addressing the underlying causes of populism.

    • Europe's Traditional Parties Struggle to Adapt, Far-Right Gains AcceptanceEurope's traditional center-left and center-right parties are losing voter trust due to their inability to address societal changes and shifting preferences. Far-right parties are capitalizing on this, gaining acceptance in society through their radical and populist positions.

      The traditional center-right and center-left parties in Europe, which have dominated the political landscape since the end of World War II, have struggled to adapt to societal changes and shifting voter preferences. This has led to a growing perception among voters that these parties are only focused on seeking office and not addressing the issues that matter to people. The migration crisis of 2015 and Brexit have accelerated this trend, with some parties moving towards more radical, populist positions to appeal to voters. This shift has made the far-right ideology more normalized in political life and society, with increasing popular tolerance for their discourse. For instance, the current Tory government in the UK can be classified as a radical right and populist party due to its policies on railing against lefty lawyers and plans to ship asylum seekers and migrants to other countries for processing. The far-right's core vote hasn't necessarily grown, but its acceptance in society has, as the center-right parties have adopted far-right discourse.

    • Improving Franco-British relationsKeir Starmer's visit to Paris marks a symbolic step towards mending strained Franco-British relations, offering potential British influence in Europe and a chance for Starmer to raise his profile.

      Keir Starmer's visit to Paris to meet Emmanuel Macron is significant as a symbol of improving Franco-British relations, following strained periods during the Johnson and Truss administrations. Starmer's trip was welcomed in Paris as a sign of potential British influence in Europe, and Macron was reportedly eager to engage with him. The talks were described as warm and engaging, but no detailed discussions on contentious issues like Brexit or immigration were reported. For Starmer, the visit was an opportunity to raise his profile in Europe and build relationships with key European leaders. The meeting was a reminder of the importance of diplomacy and the potential for productive relationships between nations, even during challenging political times.

    • EU's Immigration Crisis Overshadows Brexit TalksThe EU's immigration challenges overshadow Brexit negotiations, making it unlikely for the UK to receive special treatment.

      The European Union (EU) is currently facing significant challenges, particularly regarding immigration, which makes it unlikely for the EU to prioritize granting special treatment to the UK in the context of Brexit negotiations. The EU is deeply divided over immigration, with countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain dealing with the brunt of arrivals while wealthier northern countries prefer to keep them out. Eastern European countries are also opposed to accepting new relocations. Given these pressing issues and the EU's plate being full, there's not enough bandwidth or interest to accord any special treatment to the UK. The overall sentiment in Brussels and EU capitals is that they don't have the time, space, or inclination to tinker around the edges of Brexit negotiations. Both UK political parties are focusing on their home audience, and there's a wait-and-see attitude. The EU understands the electoral cycle in the UK and the need for political posturing, but the focus remains on addressing more pressing matters.

    • Brexit negotiations and EU's stanceThe EU may not be open to major Brexit deal changes without significant UK concessions. The UK might consider rejoining the single market and customs union to make progress.

      The UK's efforts to renegotiate the Brexit deal, particularly regarding veterinary inspections and trade, may not be met with open arms in the EU. The EU is looking for significant concessions from the UK in return for any changes to the agreement. The British perspective on global issues is seen as powerful but sometimes distorting from the European viewpoint. The UK may need to make a significant gesture, such as rejoining the single market and customs union, to make progress in negotiations. Additionally, the Guardian's Politics Weekly UK podcast features an upcoming episode of Comfort Eating with Grace Dent, where she will discuss food memories with celebrity guests. UnitedHealthcare's Health ProtectorGuard fixed indemnity insurance plans are designed to help individuals manage out-of-pocket medical costs without the usual requirements and restrictions. Finally, the all-new Lexus GX offers exceptional features and technology, inspiring exceptional experiences for its drivers.

    Recent Episodes from Politics Weekly UK

    Keir Starmer: new deal, new drama? Politics Weekly UK

    Keir Starmer: new deal, new drama? Politics Weekly UK
    The Labour leader has managed to stem a potential showdown with trade union leaders this week over wording on a workers’ rights deal. If this is a dress rehearsal for Labour in government, how has Keir Starmer and his party fared? The Guardian’s John Harris is joined by the columnist Polly Toynbee and Marc Stears, a former Labour party speechwriter and UCL Policy Lab director. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Politics Weekly Westminster: Rishi Sunak’s big security pitch

    Politics Weekly Westminster: Rishi Sunak’s big security pitch
    The Guardian’s Pippa Crerar and Kiran Stacey talk about Rishi Sunak’s big speech on security and how he hopes to draw a dividing line between the Conservatives and Labour. And Keir Starmer will meet union bosses on Tuesday but anger is brewing over Natalie Elphicke and rumours about Labour’s plan to water down pledges on workers’ rights. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Tory defections, economic challenges and council winners – Politics Weekly UK

    Tory defections, economic challenges and council winners – Politics Weekly UK
    The Conservatives have been left bloodied after a devastating set of local election results. This week, John Harris speaks to councillors about what’s really going on for them in their area. Plus, he speaks to the Guardian columnist Gaby Hinsliff about another Tory defection to Labour, and the Labour party’s attempt to take the crown for economic responsibility. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Politics Weekly Westminster: Election special – podcast

    Politics Weekly Westminster: Election special – podcast
    In the first of our Politics Weekly Westminster episodes, the Guardian’s political editor Pippa Crerar and political correspondent Kiran Stacey go over the big wins and losses from the local and mayoral elections. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Coming 5 May: Politics Weekly Westminster – an extra podcast episode to get your political fix

    Coming 5 May: Politics Weekly Westminster – an extra podcast episode to get your political fix
    The Guardian’s political editor, Pippa Crerar, and the political correspondent Kiran Stacey help you kick off your week with the stories you need to know from inside Westminster Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Local elections road trip: Thurrock – Politics Weekly UK

    Local elections road trip: Thurrock – Politics Weekly UK
    In the run-up to the local elections this week, the Guardian columnist John Harris is in Thurrock where the council has amassed more than £1.5bn in debt since 2022. He speaks to people facing swingeing cuts and asks whether the vote on Thursday will make any difference to their lives. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Sicknote culture wars and Angela Rayner – Politics Weekly UK

    Sicknote culture wars and Angela Rayner – Politics Weekly UK
    Rishi Sunak has said it is his ‘moral mission’ to end Britain’s sicknote culture. The Guardian’s John Harris speaks to the disability campaigner Hannah Deakin and the New Economics Foundation’s head of social policy, Tom Pollard, about why the current system is failing people. Plus, the political correspondent Kiran Stacey runs us through the latest from Westminster. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Cameron and Truss: former PMs stage their comebacks – Politics Weekly UK

    Cameron and Truss: former PMs stage their comebacks – Politics Weekly UK
    How much should Britain get involved in the conflict in the Middle East? The Guardian’s John Harris is joined by the columnist Gaby Hinsliff and former national security adviser Peter Ricketts to talk about the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel at the weekend. Plus, John talks to Gaby about smoking bans, NatCon and Liz Truss’s new book. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    David Cameron, Donald Trump and UK Arms Sales – Politics Weekly UK podcast

    David Cameron, Donald Trump and UK Arms Sales – Politics Weekly UK podcast
    David Cameron made a surprise visit to Mar-a-Largo this week to visit Donald Trump. John Harris is joined by the Guardian’s political editor, Pippa Crerar, and the diplomatic editor, Patrick Wintour, to get the latest on the meeting. And as international pressure continues to build on Israel, John speaks to a former Israeli peace negotiator, Daniel Levy, on whether there is a pathway to end the war. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Related Episodes

    Is this the end of the Tories’ Brexit wars? Politics Weekly UK

    Is this the end of the Tories’ Brexit wars? Politics Weekly UK
    After years of tensions, Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen this week unveiled their new Brexit deal to virtually universal praise. But is there a catch? The Guardian’s John Harris is joined by Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll, columnist Rafael Behr and former No 10 chief of staff and Conservative peer Gavin Barwell to discuss. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    Does Britain really regret Brexit? – Politics Weekly UK

    Does Britain really regret Brexit? – Politics Weekly UK
    It’s been three years since the UK officially left the EU. This week the IMF has predicted we will be the only major global economy to shrink this year. Plus opinion polls suggest people are regretting their vote. The Guardian’s John Harris is joined by columnist Rafael Behr, Brexit correspondent Lisa O’Carroll and economics editor Larry Elliott to look at what Brexit has delivered. Help support our independent journalism at theguardian.com/politicspod

    The rights of EU citizens in the UK – Brexit podcast

    The rights of EU citizens in the UK – Brexit podcast
    Jon Henley is joined by Lisa O’Carroll, Nicolas Hatton, Andrew Tingley and Jakub Krupa to discus the future rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK in the build up to this year’s Brexit negotiations. Plus we hear from former Vote Leave chair Gisela Stuart who calls on the government to act now to guarantee residency rights for EU nationals in Britain