MICHAEL GOVE admitted too little has been done by the government to tackle global warming, as he told teenage activist Greta Thunberg yesterday her views ‘have been heard’.
The environment secretary attended a speech at Westminster by the 16-year-old Swede, who became a figurehead for climate protests after inspiring strikes by school pupils across the world.
She told him that, without drastic action, ‘we probably don’t even have a future’, adding: ‘That future has been sold so a small number of people can make unimaginable amounts of money.’
Afterwards, Mr Gove said: ‘In the past few years, it has become inescapable that we have to act. The time to act is now, the challenge could not be clearer, Greta you have been heard.’
Mr Gove stopped short of revealing any new policies.
But he agreed to hold talks with representatives of the Extinction Rebellion climate group that caused chaos in London last week and was protesting again yesterday in Parliament Square.
‘We have not done nearly enough,’ he told Greta, whose speech was also attended by MPs including Labour’s Ed Miliband and Lib Dem Layla Moran.
Meanwhile, the energy minister Claire Perry rejected calls by Extinction Rebellion for the government to declare a ‘climate emergency’. She said the protesters were in danger of ignoring progress that had been made and risked making people ‘fearful for the future rather than hopeful’.
It came as the activists in Parliament Square urged politicians to ‘tell the truth’ about the threat of humanity being wiped out by climate change.
More than 1,000 protesters have been arrested over the disruption and 69, aged from 19 to 77, have been charged with minor offences.
Elliott Cuciurean yesterday became one of the first to be prosecuted after admitting a public order offence.
The 20-year-old from Cheltenham was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 costs.
Greta, who shuns planes and travelled for two days by train to reach Britain, came to London to speak at the protests. She boycotted her lessons in the wake of a heatwave and wildfires in Sweden last summer, prompting copycat action by thousands of pupils in more than a dozen countries.
At Westminster, where she met Speaker John Bercow and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas, she took a swipe at climate change sceptic Donald Trump. She said: ‘He must have scientists coming to talk to him all the time, so he is obviously not listening.’
Vine bashes ‘revolting reporting by Boulton’
BBC presenter Jeremy Vine appeared to have taken a swipe at Sky News’ Adam Boulton by mocking his weight and ‘revolting’ coverage of Extinction Rebellion. Mr Vine, 53, tweeted that the ‘sight of [protesters] being belittled by veteran anchormen who look like they had half the planet for lunch is pretty revolting’. Mr Boulton, 60, was criticised for comparing an activist to a ‘fascist’ during a TV interview.