'Net zero will not happen overnight' says PM's climate spokeswoman

14 November 2021, 20:48

Rachel Johnson interviewed Allegra Stratton on LBC.
Rachel Johnson interviewed Allegra Stratton on LBC. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

The Prime Minister's COP26 spokeswoman has told Rachel Johnson on LBC that net zero will not happen "overnight" as she praised the success of the climate summit.

Speaking to Rachel on Sunday, Allegra Stratton hailed the climate agreement - which was finalised in Glasgow on Saturday - as a huge success, despite the backlash the pact has received.

When asked how net zero sits with the levelling up agenda, in terms of infrastructure, Ms Stratton said net zero is "not overnight".

"Particularly on railways, if you are getting people to decide that they won't use their cars as much as they did before, that's going to lower emissions," she said.

"In the future, as we move towards net zero, one of the things I say to people is that net zero is not overnight.

"So these are not decisions or changes to your lifestyle that we are going to be expecting people to do tomorrow, but if you are concerned about these issues, which lots of the opinion polling shows us people are, and you want to think what you can do in your own life, then there are a great many options."

Read more: PM admits delight at climate pact is 'tinged with disappointment' after watered-down deal

Rachel asked of COP26: "Were there more delights than disappointments?"

The No 10 press secretary turned prime minister's climate spokeswoman said the team feels they have "delivered a shift".

"We think we've got more ambition from other countries, so we are seeing more net zero commitments - it was a third before [COP26] and now its 90% of the world's GDP covered by net zero," she explained.

She said COP26 delivered action - in particular on coal, cars, cash and trees - and acceleration, after Alok Sharma's team got the world to agree to come back next year.

"It was a really, really tough ask at the beginning of the summit," she said.