POLITICS
15/10/2018 11:21 BST | Updated 15/10/2018 15:49 BST

Energy Minister Claire Perry Reveals She Drives A Diesel Car

Not the greenest choice.

The energy minister has revealed she drives a diesel car, eats meat and does not have solar panels on her home. 

Claire Perry, who leads government efforts to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint, made the admissions as protesters blocked the entrance of a controversial fracking site in Blackpool, where drilling for shale gas was due to begin. 

Green campaigners lost a high court challenge to fracking company Cuadrilla on Friday, after the government overruled the local authority last year and said the firm could drill for shale gas in Lancashire. 

Climate change is also the focus of global debate after the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) issued a dire warning of impending catastrophe for the environment last week.

Experts concluded that “unprecedented” action was needed by all governments and that emissions must be slashed to “net zero” – the point at which they are effectively cut by 100% – by 2050 to stop warming beyond 1.5C.

Perry has tasked government advisors with setting out a strategy to virtually eliminate carbon emissions within 30 years, but it seems she has done little as an individual. 

Asked by Sky News what kind of car she drove, Perry replied:  “When I get to London I try and cycle a lot but I do have a diesel car at the moment, a small diesel.” 

Perry added that she “did have a hybrid for a very long time” but that she chose to switch back to a diesel, before adding: “I’m pretty sure my next car is going to be an electric one.” 

Perry said she did not have solar panels on her home either, despite many local authorities encouraging residents to install them. 

She said: “No, I haven’t [got solar panels] because I don’t have a south-facing roof and it wouldn’t make a lot of sense.” 

Perry was also taken to task over whether she ate meat.  Campaigners say livestock farming has a vast detrimental impact on the environment, including land and water degradation, biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration and deforestation. 

The minister said: “Again I’m not here to prescribe what people should eat. I do have a vegetarian child, if that helps, and we do try to eat a lot of stir fries, with vegetables in with the meat.” 

OLI SCARFF via Getty Images

Following the report by the IPCC, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “On the global stage, the UK is driving forward action on climate change through our work at the UN and with our Commonwealth partners.

“To ensure that we continue to lead from the front, we are asking the experts to advise on targets for net zero emissions.”

The previous Conservative government already said it would set a net-zero target in law, but the exact deadline for this target has been up for debate. 

Labour has already committed to a net-zero target by 2050, and more than 130 MPs have signed a cross-party letter calling for the government to set a date for net zero before the middle of the century. 

Green MP Caroline Lucas, meanwhile, tweeted in support of the blockade at the Cuadrilla site in Blackpool.

She said: “Good luck to peaceful protestors at #fracking site at PNR this morning

“Supreme irony that Government giving green light to whole new fossil fuel industry to start today - just a week after IPCC climate report on importance of keeping vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground.”

Drilling ceased on the site after two minor earthquakes in 2011 – resulting in a country-wide moratorium on fracking and tightening of regulations. 

The company has insisted the site will not harm the environment and could be a boost for the economy. 

Perry has said there are tight regulations in place and monitoring systems were “set at an explicitly cautious level”. 

In a statement after the ruling on Friday, Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan said: “We are delighted to be starting our hydraulic fracturing operations as planned.

“We are now commencing the final operational phase to evaluate the commercial potential for a new source of indigenous natural gas in Lancashire.

“If commercially recoverable, this will displace costly imported gas with lower emissions, significant economic benefit and better security of energy supply for the UK.”