‘End the environmentalist obsession’: Jacob Rees-Mogg’s most controversial climate change quotes

·3-min read
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed Business Secretary, which will see him in charge of the energy and climate brief.   (REUTERS)
Jacob Rees-Mogg has been appointed Business Secretary, which will see him in charge of the energy and climate brief. (REUTERS)

Green campaigners have criticised the appointment of Jacob Rees-Mogg as Business Secretary, which will see him in charge of the energy and climate brief.

His appointment to lead the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis), which is also responsible for climate action, comes as households across the UK face crippling energy bills this winter, caused by sky-high gas prices, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But, what are Jacob Rees-Mogg’s voting credentials on the climate, and, what has he said about it?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Jacob Rees-Mogg’s voting record on climate change?

According to Theyworkforyou.com, Jacob Rees-Mogg has consistently voted against measures that would prevent climate change.

For example, in 2016, Rees-Mogg voted not to reduce the permitted carbon dioxide emission rate of new homes.

In 2020, he voted not to call on the Government to develop and implement a plan to eliminate the substantial majority of transport emissions by 2030.

In 2021, Rees-Mogg voted not to require the Financial Conduct Authority to have regard to the target of reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2050 when setting capital and risk-related requirements for investment firms.

What are Jacob Rees-Mogg’s quotes on the climate?

Mr Rees-Mogg had previously played down the earthquake risk of fracking, as well as stressing the need for oil firms to keep their profits amid calls for a windfall tax to ease spiralling bills, “so that they get every last drop out of the North Sea”.

In the past, Mr Rees-Mogg has also warned against “climate alarmism”, as well as saying that he wants his constituents to have cheap energy, “rather more than I would like them to have windmills”.

What have critics said about Rees-Mogg’s new role?

Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK, said: “Rees-Mogg is the last person who should be in charge of the energy brief, at the worst possible moment.

“He blamed ‘climate alarmism’ for high energy bills, pushing David Cameron to ‘cut the green crap’ like incentives for solar, wind and energy efficiency, which has added £150 to every energy bill. Appointing him to the brief now suggests the Tories have learned nothing from years of energy policy incompetence.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of political affairs, Dave Timms, said: “Putting someone who recently suggested ‘every last drop’ of oil should be extracted from the North Sea in charge of energy policy is deeply worrying for anyone concerned about the deepening climate emergency, solving the cost-of-living crisis and keeping our fuel bills down for good.

“Extracting more fossil fuels is a false solution to the energy crisis. It’s our failure to end our reliance on gas and oil that’s sent energy bills soaring and left us teetering on the brink of catastrophic climate change.

“We need a forward-looking, modern energy strategy based on better home insulation and unleashing the full potential of the UK’s homegrown renewables power – not one rooted in dirty fossil fuels of the past.”