The UN says we have roughly 11 years to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Meanwhile, real wages have stagnated and global trade wars threaten our economies. Solving these global crises requires elected leaders to provide the right policy and funding for climate action, as well as to empower businesses and constituents to make urgent changes.
At the Liberal Democrats’ party conference in Bournemouth this month, Wera and her colleagues passed the most comprehensive and ambitious plans to get the UK to net-zero carbon by 2045. The policy includes a plan to tackle the UK’s biggest emitters - power generation, surface transport and buildings. Under this plan, climate policy will be at the heart of all government decisions, from defence to finance to transport, energy, and housing.
The action plan for the first 100 days of a Liberal Democrat government includes:
Setting targets to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 59 percent by 2025; 75 percent by 2030... and 93 percent by 2040
Stopping Brexit to prioritise the climate crisis with the UK’s European partners
Beginning to phase-out fossil fuels in the UK economy by immediately banning fracking and the opening of new coal mines and pits
In the first year, the Liberal Democrats would:
Dedicate funds for a Just Transition Commission to make sure the most-affected communities are not left behind
Legislate to make sure local authorities have a Zero-Carbon strategy; ban non-recyclable single-use plastics
Promote decentralised and community energy; encourage rapid adoption of electric vehicles; plan to convert the rail network to ultra-low-emission technology; invest in public transport
Impose a moratorium on airport expansion.
Establish the biggest national re-forestation programme - 60 million trees a year
Further on, the party would regulate financial services to encourage green investments; boost green skills training; introduce zero-carbon standards for all new buildings; develop smart grids and support research for carbon capture technology.
You can read the full Liberal Democrat Climate Action Plan here.
Unlike Labour or the Greens, the Liberal Democrats have detailed solutions to the climate crisis, which do not involve creating a socialist state, punishing industry or ending air travel altogether. Unlike the Tories, who abandoned renewable energy - cancelling subsidies for solar panels and destroying the incentives for businesses to invest in renewables - the Liberal Democrats commit to a target of 80 percent of UK electricity being generated by renewables by 2030.
The Tory policy of fracking for fossil fuel, which poisons land, air and water, would end immediately.
In Bath, there are many challenges to reach net-zero carbon. How does the council retrofit hundreds of UNESCO world heritage buildings to be more energy efficient, and provide alternatives to natural gas? How does it encourage viable green transport even for the elderly or rural commuters?
Wera is already working closely on each of these issues with the newly-elected Liberal Democrat council - who along with more than 200 other local authorities - have declared a climate emergency. As an MP, she intends to support local needs with national legislation and funding.
The International Labour Organization has said that the green economy has the potential to create millions of jobs -- more jobs than will be lost by an end to fossil fuels. This green economy will need local food producers, water quality technicians, recycling experts, repair workers; technicians to handle solar cells, wind turbines and biofuels.
It will require green builders, green designers, conservationists working both for biodiversity as well as for cultural heritage. The Liberal Democrats’ climate action plan is detailed and delivers us to this greener future.
Working together - from the individual to the international - we can transition to a planet where human life is equitable, prosperous, healthy and sustainable.