Rishi Sunak delivering a speech during a press conference on the net zero target, on Wednesday.
Rishi Sunak’s sudden U-turn on the UK’s climate pledges has caused deep alarm on social media – not least because of the policies he said he plans to “stop”.
The prime minister called a last-minute conference on Wednesday afternoon – just after parliament went on recess – to announce he was pivoting to a more “pragmatic, proportionate and realistic” approach to net zero by 2050.
He promised: “We will never impose unnecessary and heavy-handed measures on you, the British people.
“We will still meet our international commitments and hit net zero by 2050.”
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), he listed five policies which he planned to “stop”: taxes on eating meat, new taxes to discourage flying, sorting your rubbish into seven different bins, compulsory car sharing and expensive insulation upgrades.
He did also announce five new policies which he would be pushing for – including lifting the ban on onshore wind and new carbon capture storage – but that did not get as much engagement as his first post.
That’s probably because the policies he plans on stopping are not well-known government strategies.
We will never impose unnecessary and heavy-handed measures on you, the British people.
We will still meet our international commitments and hit Net Zero by 2050. pic.twitter.com/XjXQzGVaCN
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 20, 2023
Readers even added a community note to the post, which read: “Taxes on meat and flying had already been repeatedly ruled out by the government.
“There is no proposal to require people to have seven bins, or for ‘compulsory’ car sharing.
“The announced changes on insulation only stand to benefit private landlords.”
So, you can imagine the kind of reactions that followed across X...
They were never policies you lying prick
— Supertanskiii (@supertanskiii) September 20, 2023
This is a parody account
It must be
This can’t be real
— Izzy 🐀 (@rules_of_izzy) September 20, 2023
So to be absolutely clear, you are stopping things that aren’t actually even things?
— Pastor Alex (@PastorAlexLove) September 20, 2023
Did you ever imagine in your wildest dreams imagine you’d get to be a shitter prime minister than Truss
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) September 20, 2023
It’s a start, I suppose, but I won’t be happy until he’s also banned elbow grease, tartan paint and glass hammers. https://t.co/zt3SGPlZef
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) September 20, 2023
In the old days seven Mirror reporters would have been made to dress up as bins & follow the PM around asking what he had against then & I regret that Fleet Street no longer has the resources for this frankly
— gabyhinsliff (@gabyhinsliff) September 20, 2023
So just to recap, Rishi Sunak's premiership is going so well that he felt forced to completely relaunch it, by scrapping a load of policies that don't exist and by burning the planet a little bit more quickly. The clock is ticking. Bin Day is coming.
— Count Binface (@CountBinface) September 21, 2023
According to this tweet, Rishi Sunak’s green policy U-turn is designed to save us from “heavy handed” measures, no one has ever heard of, that were probably invented by his team pic.twitter.com/hVIvFk6Vd6
— Sangita Myska (@SangitaMyska) September 21, 2023
Rishi Sunak, waking up this morning, remembering he scrapped things which don’t exist like seven bins & a meat tax pic.twitter.com/AOy8iAENi4
— Toby Earle 🇺🇦 Threads tobyontv (@TobyonTV) September 21, 2023
Even his lectern was mocked for contrasting with the contents of his speech.
Rishi Sunak says people are "tired of... change that never go[es] beyond a slogan"... whilst stood in front of his new Tory slogan pic.twitter.com/Vg8jRA10o8
— John Stevens (@johnestevens) September 20, 2023