Climate change sceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg has responsibility for the government's climate plan.

New Defra and energy ministers ‘voted against preventing climate change’

Liz Truss has appointed Ranil Jayawardena as Defra minister and Jacob Rees-Mogg as energy minister sparking fears for momentum on climate issues.

The new ministers for both environment, food and rural affairs, as well as business and energy, have consistently voted against policies to prevent climate change.

Former banker Ranil Jayawardena has taken on the Defra role, while Jacob Rees-Mogg is to become minister for business and energy, with responsibility for climate change policies under that.

According to parliamentary watchdog They Work for You, both have “consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change”, causing environmentalists to fear new Prime Minister Liz Truss will not prioritise green policies.

In October 2020, Jayawardena, who succeeds George Eustice, voted “not to require ministers to have due regard to the target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when taking actions including setting up agricultural subsidy schemes”.

The former Lloyds banking manager has also voted against more stringent rules for pension schemes and the Financial Conduct Authority to pay heed to net zero targets.

Rees-Mogg, who has moved from a role in ‘Brexit opportunities’ to business secretary, has been widely described in the media as a “fossil fuel fan” and has spoken in the past about how climate change “alarmism” is responsible for energy bill rises.

He has voted in the past against incentives for renewable energy generation, as well as various votes on climate including voting against various environmental responsibility rules including the ‘polluter pays’ principle, the precautionary principle and rectifying damage at source.

In a post on Twitter, Jayawardena said: “It is a privilege to be appointed the Secretary of State for @DefraGovUK. From food security and backing British farmers, to water security and growing our rural economy, I know that there is much to do. It is so important to recognise where our food comes from.”

Truss entered Number 10 to begin her tenure as Prime Minister this week, with her first priorities to tackle the rising cost-of-living crisis. Read our report here.


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  1. I despair, I really do. What is Truss thinking by appointing Rees-Mogg ?!

    It clearly sign-posts and reflects Truss’s own views on environmental matters; and this at a time when brave, forward thinking is required to make good sustainable policy. So depressing

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