The Fragility Between Climate and British Politics

July 2022 was a whirlwind for both politics and the environment, as the third Conservative Prime Minister stepped down, and the UK was hit by an extreme weather event that has seen record-breaking temperatures.

The Physical or Financial Climate?

Boris Johnson’s announcement of his resignation on the 7th of July meant the bid for leadership began. His resignation comes at a time as the UK is experiencing an extreme weather event and a Cost of Living crisis, with current inflation rates sat at around 9.4% and the Bank of England predicting a recession by the end of the year.

The Cost of Living crisis has therefore been a huge PR factor in the candidates looking to replace Mr Johnson in Number 10, and questions of how to grow the economy have been thrown into the ring. With each candidate stepping forward to either repair, rebuild or rebloom the economy, one thing was clear. The economy must grow, regardless of the cost. Unfortunately, that cost is environmental.

On the 12th of July candidates in the running for Prime Minister made claims that they would steer away from the goal of net zero to help ‘boost the economy’.

Heatwaves and U Turns

A week later, on the 19th of July the UK experienced a record-breaking heatwave with temperatures above 40C that ignited a surge of wildfires across the country. Let’s compare that to the famous heatwave of 1976 which saw temperatures of around 35.9C. The heatwave was made more intense and 10 times more likely because of climate change (Imperial).

By the end of the heatwave all candidates left in the running now backed the government’s targets of working towards net zero.

UK Governments Net Zero Plans

Let’s check in to see how those Net Zero plans are coming along. Oh. Amidst the heatwave, on the 18th of July, the policies set out within the strategy were deemed inadequate by the High Court. It was concluded that the strategy fails to meet the Government’s obligation under the Climate Change Act, which should produce detailed policies and actions of how the UK’s legally binding carbon budget will be met.

This means that the UK’s plans, regardless of whether the new Prime Minister was set on keeping them would have been pretty futile.

Leave it to the Experts

As with any large climate goals, governments, businesses and individuals all have their roles to play. Making significant changes in business is never easy, but that’s how Sustainit can help!

We have been helping clients achieve their sustainability goals since 2006. To find out how we can help take you further, email us on to book a coffee and a chat, either virtually or in our new Clifton offices