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Jacob Rees-Mogg

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On Tuesday, Jacob Rees-Mogg, a U.K. Brexit minister of 12 years who is loyal to both Boris Johnson and new Prime Minister Liz Truss, got a fancy new title. Rees-Mogg will serve under Truss as the secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy. This is terrible news for anyone concerned about the climate crisis given Rees-Mogg has made his money as an oil and coal mining investor. He’s supportive of fracking, drilling for fossil fuels until the North Sea is tapped, and has frequently misconstrued climate science to suit his needs. His position may prove no different as Rees-Mogg is expected to once again work on his own betterment instead of the planet’s.

The Guardian offers a comprehensive writeup on the many ways that Rees-Mogg, who’s known as “the honorable gentleman from the 18th century,” will fail to meet the moment. Rees-Mogg’s nickname comes from his sartorial choices, though his devotion to fossil fuels certainly has an antiquated quality to it, as does his history of slamming IPCC reports and disinterest in reaching net zero. Though the U.K. has drastically slashed its emissions over the years—thanks, in part, to Rees-Mogg’s predecessor—it will be that much harder for the country to continue its course toward net zero if the person charged with leading that fight has no desire to even engage in it.

Greenpeace UK slammed the decision to appoint Rees-Mogg. “Rees-Mogg is the last person who should be in charge of the energy brief, at the worst possible moment,” Greenpeace UK Politics Head Rebecca Newsom told Bloomberg. “This will either be a massive own goal for Truss’s efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis or Rees-Mogg will have to do the steepest learning curve in history as he gets to grips with the issues facing our country.”

With the U.K. as a signee of the Paris Agreement and COP27 on the horizon, it’s anyone’s guess how obstructionist of a role Rees-Mogg may play in negotiations at the November conference. Nearly 200 countries will work to address a crisis that has only grown more pressing. It will certainly be a major change given that the last United Nations Climate Change Conference took place in Glasgow, where local leaders looked to position themselves as leaders in reaching net zero goals. But that’s simply not something Rees-Mogg is interested in, and that spells disaster for not just the U.K. but the entire planet.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

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