There is a fundamental flaw in Boris Johnson’s approach to tackling climate change, and that’s the G-word – growth (UK to toughen targets on greenhouse gas emissions for next 15 years, 19 April).

On Tuesday, he spoke about “laying the foundations for decades of economic growth”. In his speech to President Biden’s climate summit, when he wasn’t talking about “cake, have, eat” (how did the interpreters cope with that?), he was saying tackling climate change would be about jobs and growth.

Jobs, yes. A green economy will lead to more than 1m new jobs in sectors ranging from renewable energy to caring in the next two years alone. But the endless pursuit of economic growth, as the lodestar of government policy, is what is driving the climate crisis.

An economy based on taking more and more from the Earth, making more, then discarding it in the pursuit of GDP growth is pushing the planet beyond its natural limits. Our life supporting system is being destroyed in front of our eyes.

It’s only when governments recognise this, and switch the focus of the economy to the wellbeing of people and the health of the planet rather than endless growth, that we will get off the road to disaster we are currently on.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green party

The news that Joe Biden’s administration plans to cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 is a key milestone and will send a message to others, including the UK, to do more for climate change (Report, 22 April). The White House commented: “The US is not waiting, the costs of delay are too great, and our nation is resolved to act now.” Imagine if Boris Johnson, our prime minister, had such an aspiration.

The UK must resolve to take its place to fight climate change with an ambitious green new deal. The green economy is worth £120bn to the UK, and will only grow with global change and innovation. A green new deal has the potential to employ more than a million people and tackle our ecological challenges as well as unemployment, which blights so many. But it doesn’t stop there. The alternative, to fail to act, will mean we will slide ever increasingly into irrelevancy in a global age of combating the economic and ecological effects of climate change.
Oliver B Steward

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