The Labour party has a long history of taking action to protect the environment. However, in the future, environmental sustainability may potentially be the biggest challenge that we face in our life time, and we must take steps to protect our planet before it is too late.
I take tackling climate change extremely seriously, and in the Labour Party 2017 manifesto we promised to reclaim Britain’s leading role in tackling climate change, by working hard to preserve the Paris Agreement, and by delivering on international commitments to reduce emissions while mitigating the impacts of climate change on developing countries.
We also made a range of other pledges to protect our environment, including the following commitments:
– To introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality.
– To safeguard habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding our island.
– To set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste.
– To protect our bees by prohibiting neonicotinoids.
– To work with farmers and foresters to plant a million trees of native species to promote biodiversity and better flood management.
Furthermore, the Labour Party set out our vision for energy policy in our 2017 manifesto, which included ensuring we meet our climate change targets and transition to a low-carbon economy. As part of this, we promised a range of initiatives, including insulating four million homes to cut emissions, banning fracking, and committing to renewable energy projects including tidal lagoons. You can read more about this here.
The Conservative party under Theresa May has had an appalling track record in protecting the environment, one of the first acts by Theresa May as prime minister was to scrap the Department for Climate Change and to scrap the cabinet ministerial post for climate change. We were told at the time, laughably, that this wouldn’t lead to any loss of influence about one of the most important issues facing the planet.
In place of a cabinet minister we now have a mid-ranking government minister and in place of a department we now have a team tucked away in the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy.
As part of my work on the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy committee I had the opportunity to question the Minister responsible for climate change, after a lot of asking I finally found out that she, the Minister for Climate Change, had never met with the Prime Minister in order to discuss the issue of climate change. That would be funny if it weren’t so serious, instead it is a gross failure of the younger generations, who will have to deal with the costs of this governments inaction.
My Labour Colleagues and I will be continuing to champion these policies, and please rest assured that we will be taking every opportunity to call on the Government to prioritise protecting our environment at this critical time, and to reaffirm the UK’s role as a global climate leader.