Cross party parliamentarians call for urgent action on climate change
Cross party group of parliamentarians call for urgent action on climate change by adapting the 2008 Climate Change Act so it is in line with the Paris Agreement, and pursuing simple, lower cost solutions like solar, onshore wind and increased rates of energy efficiency. The Government's ambition should be for the UK to hit net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.
The APPCCG and the Sustainability team at Policy Connect hosted the Christmas reception 'Net Zero Britain' on 5th of December. It was set up to allow a cross party group of parliamentarians to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with reaching net zero emissions in the UK. The event was attended by a wide number of organisations, including industry, academia, trade bodies, parliamentarians, members of the civil service, public bodies and NGOs.
The UK Government is required by legislation to reduce UK carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050. The Climate Change Act 2008 is the basis for the UK’s approach to tackling and responding to climate change. It requires that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are reduced and that climate change risks are prepared for. The Act also establishes the framework to deliver on these requirements, with an obligation on the Government to meet regular instalments of reductions (carbon budgets) with threat of judicial review if they do not.
All previous carbon budgets have been met. While we are currently set to achieve the 3rd carbon budget (2018-2022), there is concern that much of the cheaper and easier policy measures have already been taken, and unless more is done hitting the 4th and 5th budgets could prove difficult.
At this event, the challenge and importance of meeting a more stringent net zero target were discussed. The main findings were:
- The UK Government needs to enact an urgent response to mitigating climate change. Recent reports have shown how little time the planet has: action in the next 12 years will be critical if we are to prevent dangerous climate change.
- The Climate Change Act 2008 should be adapted in line with the new scientific evidence which shows an 80% reduction isn’t going to be enough - we must hit net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
- The Government should pursue the cheaper and workable solutions that are already available, alongside fostering innovation in new technologies and solutions. This includes ensuring a route to market for solar and wind power, encouraging uptake in energy efficiency and incentivising a faster transition to zero carbon transport
For more detailed coverage of the event, please see our event debrief.
“Climate change must be higher up the agenda for every political party - and we need to put economic and social justice at the heart of environmental policies.” - Rt. Hon Ed Miliband MP
“David Attenborough recently said that if we don’t take climate actions seriously, the collapse of our civilization and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon. We need to take a moment to really feel what that means to us. And what it means to me as a politician is that we can’t simply say things aren’t politically possible, but start at what is scientifically necessary and work back from there as to how we make that politically possible.” - Caroline Lucas MP
“Be proud of what we have achieved - now more than ever, we need a strong British voice for a progressive climate agenda, to be a trailer blazer for climate action.” - Lord Barker of Battle
“Climate change is the greatest risk to our generation and future generations. It is imperative that each of us recognises and renews our commitment to the importance and urgency of limiting global temperature rises. The consequences of not doing so will be catastrophic.” - Ian Blackford MP
“We need real, strong policies: mandatory disclosure of people’s assets, action by the pension regulator, banks taking into account climate risks in their long term plans to shift money from fossil fuels into green tech, to reach net zero.” - Rt. Hon Sir Ed Davey MP