UK minister resigns accusing PM Rishi Sunak of being ‘uninterested’ in environmental cases

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LONDON: United Kingdom’s environment minister Zac Goldsmith resigned on Friday, saying that the problem is not in the government, but that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was “uninterested” in the environmental cases.

In his resignation letter to the British PM, Goldsmith said, “The problem is not that the government is hostile to the environment, it is that you, our Prime Minister, are simply uninterested.” In his letter, Goldsmith further stated that while working in political space, he forgot his love for the natural environment.

“The past four years have been an exhilarating experience for me, and I will forever be grateful that I was put in a position where I could do more for the environment than I thought possible in a lifetime. I’m proud that in recent years, the UK has played a critical, indeed defining role, leading powerful coalitions of ambition and securing world-changing commitments over a very wide range of environmental issues”, he said.

“And, even if in the highly polarised political environment here in the UK, there is an unwillingness to acknowledge it, that leadership has been recognised and appreciated by civil society and governments around the world. As a direct consequence of our environmental leadership, we have seen countries previously ambivalent towards the UK stepping up to support us on numerous unrelated issues. We often find ourselves invited to regional environmental summits as the only ‘outsider’ country present. It is the UK that civil society routinely turns to for help advancing their cause. In many respects, the UK has become the single most important voice for nature globally”, he added.

In his letter, Goldsmith also mentioned his achievement as a minister in the government. He said that at the COP26, the UK secured unprecedented commitments from countries, philanthropists and businesses that, if delivered, will put the natural world on the road to recovery.

He further stated the UK have created world-class funding programmes “like our new Biodiverse Landscapes fund, which is creating vast wildlife corridors between countries, providing safe passage for wildlife and jobs for people living in and around the corridors; and our new Blue Planet fund, which is supporting marine protection, coral and mangrove restoration, and efforts to stop plastic pollution and illegal fishing”.

“These and other funds are world-class and have leveraged a wave of financial support from other countries and philanthropists. It has been my privilege to grow our wonderful Blue Belt programme so that today it fully protects an area of ocean significantly larger than India around our Overseas Territories”.

“It has been a privilege to be able to work with so many talented people in government, in particular my Private Office, and to have been able to make a difference to a cause | have been committed to for as long as I remember. But this government’s apathy in the face of the greatest challenge we have faced makes continuing in my current role untenable,” the minister said.

“With great reluctance, I am therefore stepping down as a minister in order to focus my energy where it can be more useful”, he added. (ANI)

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