Welcome to IEMA’s Live Blog covering the leadership race to replace Boris Johnson as the leader of the Conservative party, and as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.


The blog will feature the latest environment and sustainability-related news and views from candidates in the race, their supporters, and the IEMA community.

If you are a member of the IEMA community (IEMA member or employee of an IEMA corporate partner) and would like to share your views, email IEMA’s digital journalist Tom Pashby on [email protected] to be featured.

Monday 25th July 11:39am BST: Asim Ali, IEMA's public affairs officer, writes about net zero and the next PM

"The next decade is critical for our net zero strategy. If we are serious about achieving the net zero emissions target by 2050 and transitioning the economy onto a cleaner footing, we have to make significant inroads over the next few years.

"The science is clear that human-induced climate change is causing more frequent and extreme weather events.

"As such, recent record-breaking temperatures have been accompanied by health warnings from the Met Office and have exposed gaps in the resilience of the UK’s transport and infrastructure. These events paint a picture of what life could look like more often in the future without intervention now.

Read the full blog here.

Tuesday 19th July 15:17pm BST: IEMA writes to Conservative leadership candidates

IEMA has signed an open letter calling on candidates in the Conservative party’s leadership contest to remain committed to delivering on the government’s net zero and adaptation targets.

The letter was coordinated by the climate diplomacy organisation E3G and was written by the Professional Bodies Leadership Climate Action Charter, which represents 13 million professional members globally across a wide range of sectors from science and engineering, law, health, construction and the built environment, and finance and insurance.

Read the news article and full letter here.

Friday 15th July 14:30pm BST: Dan Hamza-Goodacre FIEMA, energy lead at the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group, said:

"Whoever wins the Conservative leadership race needs to step on the race to real zero, with policies that join up the technologies and techniques delivering the energy transition.

"There is a huge opportunity for local manufacturing, macro-economic benefits and to help households, especially the poorest, to benefit from the clean power dividend."

Thursday 14th July - 14:20pm BST: Aona Stuart PIEMA, environmental consultant at Arcadis, said:

"A candidate that will continue with the net zero strategy plans and be a powerful voice for green policies should be a vital deciding factor. Candidates should prioritise transparency, encouraging all sectors to share data on environmental issues, and they should support civil society and businesses in ensuring a joined up approach towards climate action including net zero targets.

“More than half of the candidates have either pushed back on green policies or haven’t engaged in discussions around environmental issues. The instability shown by the Conservative party changing their leadership regularly over recent years must not lead to instability in the UK’s position on our environmental goals."

Thursday 14th July - 13:40pm BST: Marc Nykolyszyn, Director of Conservative Friends of the Ocean, said:

"During the Conservative Party leadership contest, Conservative Friends of the Ocean urges all candidates to make ocean policy a key government priority.

“As a proud island nation, the ocean has always been an important part of our national identity. Providing food for millions of people, facilitating trade and cultural exchange, creating jobs and growth, and playing a key role in tackling climate change.

"The next Prime Minister should have a clear vision on how the United Kingdom can take advantage of opportunities, like Brexit, to make us a global leader in protecting the ocean while delivering for our coastal communities”

Thursday 14th July - 11:50am BST: IEMA's digital journalist Tom Pashby said:

"Conservative MPs are participating in several rounds of voting for leadership candidates, two of whom will be put to the wider Conservative party membership of over 100,000 people, with a new leader and Prime Minister announced on 5 September.

"Today, voting started in parliament at 11:30 and will conclude at 13:30, with the result of this latest round announced at 15:00. There are currently 6 candidates and it is likely that more will exit the contest before the end of the day."

Wednesday 13th July - 15:30pm BST: Rosemary Horry FIEMA, technical manager on the DE-carbonisation project at the University of Derby, said:

"It will be interesting to see which, if any, of the Conservative leadership candidates actually mention what their plans are in relation to the environment, and in particular, how they intend to mitigate against climate change.

"Going on their current track records, I fear that none of them will actually make such a statement of intent."

Wednesday 13th July - 14:30pm BST: In a tweet linking to an article in the Times, chair of the Conservative Net Zero Support Group and chair of the Environment APPG, Chris Skidmore MP, said:

"A time for choosing. I have decided that Rishi Sunak is the best candidate to maintain our climate commitments, to support #NetZero and protect our environment and economy in the future."

Wednesday 13th July - 11:10am BST: Kirsty Finlayson, South West Ambassador for CEN (Conservative Environment Network) and Conservative Parliamentary Candidate in 2017 and 2019, said:

"Tackling our biodiversity and carbon crisis is not an 'optional extra', but something which, if not addressed, will affect the most disadvantaged in our society. Environmental policies directly affect wider 'pressing' issues such as food security, energy prices and the nation’s health.

"The next Tory leader must not simply tacitly endorse the path to net zero and biodiversity net gain, but understand and applaud the huge economic and social opportunities that the sector will bring. By the same token, they must not be afraid to take bold steps to decommission high eco impact industries - and financially support those workers to transition to more sustainable sectors."

Tuesday 12th July - 15:15pm BST: Donna Rourke, Head of ESG at BNP Paribas Real Estate and Strutt & Parker said:

"While it’s disappointing that none of the candidates for the Conservative party leadership attended the climate briefing given by Chief Scientific Officer, Patrick Vallance, yesterday and none of them has focused on the climate crisis in their pitches, there are glimmers of hope.

"Only two of the runners (Braverman and Badenoch) have openly stated that they would try to row back on net zero commitments, while others have simply stated the truth, that the cost of living crisis is forefront of the minds of voters and MPs.

"There is a critical urgency for change and also a huge opportunity. We need bold and transformational leadership that focuses less on handouts to cope with increasing energy bills and more on investment to reduce our need for the energy in the first place, increasing green jobs and economic growth that doesn’t come at the cost of our planet and our children’s future as a result."

Tuesday 12th July - 10:30am BST: Writing in the Telegraph, leadership candidate Penny Mordaunt MP, said:

"As prime minister, I want to build on the success of projects such as development corporations, to give all our mayors and local communities additional powers to raise billions of pounds. We want every part of the UK to reach its potential, and such initiatives will drive economic growth and create thousands of jobs.

"This will also give us a huge boost for our plans to achieve net zero, where we believe that up to three million green jobs could be generated by 2030, creating the apprenticeships, new jobs and training opportunities right across our United Kingdom."

Tuesday 12th July - 10:00am BST: Elizabeth Draper AIEMA said:

"We need a government that grasps the reality of the climate emergency and implements green policies immediately. We don't have time for warm words and lengthy debates. We need decisive action, yesterday."

Tuesday 12th July - 09:10am BST: Musician Ellie Goulding tweeted about the Conservative leadership race, saying:

"Any candidates for PM even thinking about ditching green goals should know that they don’t have our backing. The only way forward is green, switch from fossil fuel to renewable and restore nature. Now! Without urgent action we’re screwed.

"It’s *only* by protecting nature and getting off fossil fuels that we will get energy and food security. To go in the opposite direction makes no sense.

"Hurts me so much to think that we could go from leading on climate to being a Trump laggard and undo our progress. #putheplanetfirst. 🌎🌍🌏"

Monday 11th July - 11:50am BST: In a quote given to PA, Chris Skidmore MP, chair of the Conservative Net Zero Support Group, said:

“We have yet to hear from any candidate in this leadership race their clear position not only on supporting net zero but also how they intend to prioritise climate, nature and the environment.

“At a time of a cost-of-gas crisis and global food insecurity, and a time when the UK is about to face record heatwaves, it’s absolutely vital that every candidate in this leadership race sets out their stall on how they would protect net zero.”

“As far as I’m concerned, the future progress on climate change hangs in the balance. We have two weeks to save net zero.”

Monday 11th July - 11:15am BST: Mohammed Mohamoud AIEMA, sustainability consultant at CGI, said:

“I’d like to see a greater focus on three things from the next Conservative leader. Greater financial support for the public sector, better clarity around sustainability reporting to support organisations, and more stringent legislation around mandatory disclosures on environmental data and performance, especially indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope 3).

“The government needs to support the public sector, especially local authorities in reaching net zero. Local authorities and the NHS are two sectors that will have a great influence on whether we are able to meet our net zero targets.

“Consumers are willing to make more sustainable decisions, so we have to ensure they have all the relevant information to do so. By creating a more transparent and standardised landscape for sustainability disclosures, companies that are not meeting the consumer demand for responsible business will then need to step up in order to stay competitive.”

Monday 11th July - 10:50am BST: IEMA's Digital Journalist Tom Pashby, said:

According to Conservative Home – the online blog for Conservative party activists, this is the state of play for the leadership race, listing which candidates are running, which are out of the race already, and how many Conservative MPs currently support each candidate.

The recent former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is in the lead with 35 MPs declaring their support for him.

  • Steve Baker (declared 9/7 that he won’t stand)
  • Kemi Badenoch (12)
  • John Baron (declared intent of standing 8/7)
  • Jake Berry (declared 9/7 that he won’t stand)
  • Suella Braverman (10)
  • Robert Buckland
  • Rehman Chisti
  • Jeremy Hunt (12)
  • Sajid Javid (9)
  • Penny Mordaunt (21)
  • Priti Patel (10)
  • Grant Shapps (7)
  • Rishi Sunak (35)
  • Liz Truss (14)
  • Tom Tugendhat (14)
  • Ben Wallace (declared he would not stand 9/7)
  • Bill Wiggin (canvassed colleagues for support 8/7)
  • Nadhim Zahawi (13)