Thank you to those who have contacted me recently about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
I agree that we need urgent action on this issue. Climate breakdown is not a distant threat but something that is happening here and now. Yet while Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency in May 2019, the Government is simply not responding as the situation requires.
The UN has warned that we have less than a decade to avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It states that this will require “far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. Yet the Government has made far too little progress in decarbonising our economy. As the Committee on Climate Change has made clear, far from being on track to meet the Government’s own 2050 target for reaching net zero emissions, we look set to miss even the previous, less ambitious target.
Confronted by this unfolding emergency, I am clear that 2050 is too late for the UK to end its contribution to climate breakdown. I am determined that the UK must show global leadership on this issue, and that starts with ambitious action at home. I believe we should aim to achieve the substantial majority of our emissions reductions by 2030, starting with a green economic recovery from coronavirus that meets the scale of the climate challenge and continuing with a genuine green industrial revolution that will decarbonise and transform our economy at scale.
As such, I support many of the aims set out in the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. The Bill, however, is a Presentation Bill, which does not involve a debate or a vote in Parliament but is a way of drawing attention to an issue that requires a change in the law. I will therefore also be supporting other parliamentary measures that seek to implement many of the principles laid out in the Bill.
For example, a proposed amendment to the Government’s Environment Bill would have required it to report on the adequacy of current environmental law and policy in meeting the climate and ecological challenges the UK faces. This report would have had to include several specific issues highlighted by the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, such as enhancing natural ecosystems and agroecosystems to safeguard their capacity as carbon sinks, as well as the need to restore biodiverse habitats and their soils. Unfortunately, the Government opposed this amendment and it did not make it into the Bill at Committee Stage.
Nevertheless, I can assure you that I will continue to push for bold action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency at every opportunity.