The Labour Party has a long history of taking action to protect the environment. However, the climate crisis and environmental sustainability is likely to be the biggest issue we’ll face in our lifetimes, and we need to take urgent and radical action to protect our planet, before it’s too late.
I’ve been privileged to visit schools and listen and learn from the young people who are thinking seriously about what steps we can take as a society to protect their futures. I’ve also proudly joined the School Strikes for Climate Action in Brighton and Hove, spoken at climate strike rallies and met activists from Extinction Rebellion, who have raised the awareness of these issues massively in recent months.
Scrutinising the Government’s work on climate change is a big part of my work in Parliament too. I’m a member of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, where I work with MPs from other parties to hold inquiries on big issues and then make recommendations to Government, and we’re currently looking into whether the Government’s target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 is an acceptable target – you can read more about this here: http://bit.ly/2KfuOuU. I was very proud to sponsor Rachel Reeves MP’s backbench bill on zero net carbon emissions too, which the Government accepted and made law.
I also led a debate in Parliament recently on electric vehicles, calling for the Government to bring forward the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2032 – you can read more here: http://bit.ly/2OFU4Pv.
You might have heard too that my Labour Party colleagues managed to force the Government to declare a Climate Emergency, and we’ve also produced a dedicated manifesto for the environment, which you can find here: https://www.labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/The-Green-Transformation-.pdf. I really believe that tackling the climate crisis is a positive in so many ways if we get it right, and our policies are designed to harness those opportunities. We’ve pledged to:
- Ensure that 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from low-carbon or renewable sources within twelve years of coming to power
- Remove the barriers to onshore wind put in place by the Conservative government, and stop the Conservatives’ chopping and changing of energy policy, investing in wind, solar and other renewable projects to support the creation of a thriving renewables industry with good, long term jobs across the UK
- Introduce a new Clean Air Act to deal with the Conservative legacy of illegal air quality
- Upgrade 4 million homes to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C in our first term, investing £2.3bn per year to provide financial support for households to insulate their homes
- Position the UK at the forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles, supporting the creation of clean modes of transport through investment in low emission vehicles
- Reconfigure funds for farming and fishing to support sustainable practices, smaller traders, local economies and community benefits
- Embed and enhance in policy the responsibility for farmers to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds, insects and other wild animals, and encourage the growth of wildflowers
- Protect habitats and species in the ‘blue belts’ of the seas and oceans surrounding the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, and consult on the creation of National Marine Parks around the UK
- Set guiding targets for plastic bottle deposit schemes, working with food manufacturers and retailers to reduce waste
- Develop a cross-government strategy for ensuring the UN Sustainable Development Goals are implemented and report annually to Parliament on our performance
- Properly commit to supporting climate mitigation and adaptation efforts led by the countries in the Global South, and to supporting countries severely affected to cope with associated loss and damage
- Create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250 billion over ten years to help place our economy on a low carbon, sustainable footing
I’ve been doing my best to walk the talk on all this too – I haven’t had a car for a number of years now and I make sure I choose renewable energy suppliers. And I’ve switched to 100% electric for my home which comes from ultra-low carbon sources. I’m still saving for solar for my roof!