Today (Wednesday 26th June), activists are taking part in a mass lobby of Parliament and are arguing that #TheTimeIsNow to act on climate change.
At Change UK, we agree that we are in a climate emergency. We need urgent decisions to be taken – not in a few years, not after the next General Election, but now – to halt what seems like an inevitable breakdown in our climate.
With Parliament so divided and our politics so broken, it can feel like this is an impossible task. But working across parties, MPs can take action now to tackle climate change.
Climate change is accelerating but the Conservative Government’s action falls short of what is required. Difficult decisions need to be made now – because how we live, the goods we consume and the energy we generate will need to be transformed.
We must agree stronger water and energy standards for new-build homes; change how we consume energy in those homes; adopt and expand renewables; reform our transport, automotive and other industries – working with them to protect jobs; and make the transition to a circular economy.
Europe is essential to this – not least because of our membership of the Emissions Trading Scheme, which is the key mechanism for managing carbon reductions between countries. As with so many other issues, Brexit can only harm our efforts on tackling climate change, which is a truly international challenge.
The way we renew our national environment will be critical. Poor management of this means that the natural work around us is no longer playing its proper role in sequestering carbon. Improving our soil quality and uplands restoration are both critically important. Politicians must work with those who are closest to our countryside – our farmers and agricultural industry – to invest in research and find new ways of significantly reducing emissions.
To meet the climate emergency, we need to:
- Reach carbon net zero at least by 2050 – if not by 2045, if the evidence shows it is feasible
- Support a transition away from sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030
- Work with industry to phase out non-essential single-use plastics by 2025
- Advocate higher standards for new-build housing, with all new stock built to carbon neutral standards by 2025 – with tough new rules on energy and water efficiency
- Support and develop a diverse energy base using a range of renewables, including hydrogen and tidal
- Increase the areas designated for nature protection across the UK and EU