ON the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his resignation, Confor’s Stuart Goodall issued a statement calling on whoever fancied themselves the next leader of the country to “show they understand that productive forestry can help the UK move towards its net-zero target.”

He urged: “Less rhetoric, more trees in the ground, please, new Prime Minister.”

Since then, I hoped one of the cavalcade of characters putting themselves into the running for the top job might have said something about trees, but it looks as if, going forward, even rhetoric may be thin on the ground.

Watching the Conservative circus that has resulted from the PM’s resignation, you could be forgiven for thinking we weren’t in the grip of a climate crisis. The only time candidates have volunteered an opinion on the subject, it was to threaten scrapping the government’s net-zero ambitions altogether (not good for business, apparently).

Despite record-breaking summer temperatures sparking wildfires across the land, front-runners Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have barely been troubled with any questions about how they would tackle climate change – and offered up only the weakest of soundbites in response.

READ MORE: When will Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss take tree planting seriously?

It’s tempting to blame the mainstream media for not focussing attention on the crisis, but journalists, much like politicians, are guided by what the public at large cares about – most recently rising costs, taxes and war.

We’ve come a long way from the general election of 2019, as political leaders in search of populist policies tripped over themselves to commit to ever-more-incredible tree-planting targets – none of them achieved.

Forestry fell out of fashion so quickly. It’s troubling to imagine how much worse things could get before it finds itself back on the agenda.