Johnson's UK Conservative Party complained to the UK's broadcasting watchdog Ofcom ahead of the Channel 4 event, which saw Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson and the heads of the UK's other main parties debating on their plans to tackle the climate crisis ahead of next month's poll.
The party said its offer of having minister Michael Gove stand in for Johnson was rejected by Channel 4, complaining that the decision "effectively seeks to deprive the Conservative Party of any representation and attendance at the Channel 4 News debate."
These are the introductory #ClimateDebate statements from the leaders of Labour, the SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens.— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 28, 2019
Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage did not accept our invitation to attend. pic.twitter.com/NTHrDTK9hW
The program’s editor replied that Johnson "sent his two wing men" - Gove and Johnson's father, Stanley - to attempt to "argue their way into" a program intended only for leaders.
Johnson and Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party who also decided not to attend the debate, were replaced with ice sculptures bearing their parties' logos, which Channel 4 said was intended to "represent the emergency on planet earth."
The event took place on the same day that scientists warned the Earth is heading to a "tipping point," and hours after the European Parliament voted to declare a climate emergency. The UK became the first country to make such a declaration in May, after Corbyn's Labour Party led a successful push in the Parliament.
The UK Prime Minister, who is now campaigning for the UK General Elections, was earlier criticized by opposition both within his own party and from other parties when on Tuesday he refused to take part in an interview with BBC presenter Andrew Neil, which all of the other major leaders have done.