Now is the time we must act on the climate and environmental crises we are facing. It was for this reason that I supported the House of Commons’ declaration of an environment and climate emergency on 1 May.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – the international body responsible for assessing the science on climate change – has made clear that we need to take action on climate change over the next 12 years or forever miss the opportunity to do anything about it. It has also found that nature is declining globally at unprecedented rates and that transformative changes are needed to restore and protect it. International reports make clear that if we continue on our current path, we face unthinkable damage throughout the UK and affecting people and nature around the world.
Declaring an environment and climate emergency means recognising this fact. Labour has put our plans for a green industrial revolution at the heart of our Manifesto. It proposes to deliver nearly 90% of electricity and 50% of heat from renewable and low carbon sources by 2030 through a very significant expansion of onshore and offshore wind turbines, solar panels and insulation of homes. This will also help to create new jobs. A new UK National Energy Agency will own and maintain the National Grid infrastructure and oversee the delivery of our decarbonisation targets.
Declaring an emergency demands action to address it. Achieving net zero will need huge levels of investment, co-ordinated planning, new laws and significant Government intervention. Labour will rewrite the Treasury’s investment rules to guarantee that spending is compatible with our climate and environmental targets and that the costs of not acting are fully accounted for. We will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, with short-term targets for green energy and sustainable transport, and our Green Transformation Fund will be dedicated to renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, biodiversity and environmental restoration. Labour will properly fund environmental protection through a Sustainable Investment Board and legislate to move towards a zero-waste economy as well as a green industrial revolution to capture the jobs of the future, while protecting vulnerable workers and members of the public. Above all, a Labour Government will devote the time and resources necessary to deal with the scale of the problem we face. We have no time to waste.
I have signed the FOE Climate Action Pledge and full details of Labour’s climate change plans can be found in the attached link to the Labour Party manifesto.
Hilary Benn – Labour Candidate for Leeds Central