Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the climate emergency following COP26. In the wake of the summit, I agree that we need the Government to align ambition and action on this issue.
On COP26, the summit made modest progress, but did not deliver the transformation we need. The pledges made in Glasgow for 2030, even if all fully implemented, represent less than a quarter of the ambition required. They put us on track for a devastating 2.4°C temperature increase, rather than the 1.5°C limit we need. That is why the UN Secretary General has described the 1.5°C goal as on “life support”. To save this goal we need to be honest about what went wrong at the summit.
In the remaining year of the UK’s COP presidency, I believe the Government needs to reassemble the coalition of countries that delivered the Paris agreement in 2015 by building trust with the developing world. The failure to deliver $100 billion a year in climate finance by the target year of 2020 has damaged that trust and created a huge obstacle to building this coalition. The Government’s aid cuts have also undermined efforts on this and should be reversed.
It is also vital that the Government leads by example consistently here at home. Unfortunately, I believe that too often in the run up to COP26, it undermined its diplomatic efforts by its actions here in the UK. It makes little sense, for example, to consider approving a new coalmine in Cumbria or to give the go ahead for development of the Cambo oil field. And while it has now published its net zero strategy, I am afraid that the Government continues to fail to invest in the green transition at the scale needed.
I believe the Government needs to recognise that the prudent, responsible choice is to invest in the green transition and deliver the green recovery we need. This is why I support a green investment pledge of £28 billion extra each year until 2030. I believe this would create the greener, fairer country we need, through a national mission to insulate every home so we can cut bills and carbon emissions, creating good, well-paid jobs in new industries, including offshore wind, and helping existing industries, like steel, to navigate the climate transition, protecting the vital jobs that so many communities rely on.