Wera Hobhouse, Bath MP and Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on the Climate Emergency, recently co-led a Parliamentary debate on COP26.
Ms. Hobhouse said:
“With less than 100 days until COP26 begins in Glasgow, it is more important than ever that the Government gets their own house in order. This is the biggest opportunity for real climate action since the great moment of hope that was the 2015 Paris agreement.
“But in recent months the Government has consistently chosen lip service over climate action. They have scrapped the Green Homes Grant, which could have significantly reduced emissions from our homes. The Planning Bill denies councils the ability to block new developments for environmental reasons. The Government has failed to set any direction on how to heat our homes and how to expand the electricity grid for the doubling or trebling of our electricity needs, let alone on tackling emissions from heavy industry, shipping or aviation.
“Those changes and many more serve only to undermine our climate credibility on the international stage. The climate crisis is already damaging health through extreme weather, polluted air, food and water shortages, forced migration and the aggravation of disease. The Met Office recently issued its first extreme heat warning. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, The BMJ and The Lancet all agree that climate change is the biggest health threat of the 21st century.
“We hold the COP26 presidency. It is our responsibility to push for serious ambition from countries worldwide—not only to influence them to legislate for net zero, but to achieve it as soon as possible. We have had a string of incredibly disappointing COPs in the years since the Paris agreement. Big decisions have been kicked further and further down the road.
“If we want the negotiations to solve our climate crisis, and if we want this forum to be trusted by stakeholders and Governments around the world, the Paris rulebook must be finalised by the end of this COP. The responsibility for that lies with the Government as host.
“COP26 must be a COP of global solidarity. It is time for the Government to put their money where their mouth is. The world is watching to see whether the UK will step up to the plate.”
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