Climate action is urgent

The need for climate action is urgent.

The UK Government must take urgent action to avert as much of the catastrophic impact of climate change as it can. I am shocked that the Treasury continued to oppose the necessary action on climate policy in the Autumn Spending Review. Rishi Sunak did not mention the climate at all in yesterday’s Budget (27 October 2021) but instead cut air passenger tax, which is wholly irresponsible.

I am very worried by the Green Alliance view that current UK climate policies would only reduce emissions by 24% by 2050. The International Energy Agency has said the world is currently on track to output the highest level of carbon in human history in 2023.

If global temperatures rise more than 1.5 degrees the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that we risk mass species die-offs, floods and droughts, extreme weather events, sea level rise, threats to global food supplies, and other catastrophic scenarios.

The need for tackling this existential climate emergency comes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, high inequality, and high levels of global poverty. We must make transformative investments immediately to provide for green transport infrastructure, obtain energy from renewable sources, ensure buildings are environmentally friendly, restore and protect green spaces, protect biodiversity, create green jobs, and address global injustice and inequality at the same time.

We need to transform our economic model, so it is democratically accountable, and prioritises green jobs and poverty elimination over profiting the already well-off and shareholders.

I was elected on a manifesto which was clear about the threat of the climate emergency and clear about the radical action necessary to address that threat – coming out top in Friends of the Earth’s environmental assessment of the main UK-wide party manifestos.

I will continue to advocate for the investments required to come from taxing wealth, so that those who are disproportionately responsible for causing the climate emergency, pay the greatest share to repair the damage.

The Government must take the urgent actions required and implement a real Green New Deal and avert climate catastrophe.