From these cooler years of the early 21st century, we look to a bleak future. A future where the Earth continues to heat, with more extreme weather, with parts of our planet made uninhabitable, leaving millions homeless and destitute. A future where we face the threat of mass extinctions, for which we are responsible.
We will need all of our ingenuity and imagination to prevent this future from unfolding. As we see in the response to Covid-19, people can come together, and our governments can – when they need to – do the “impossible”. The climate and ecological emergency bill was introduced in parliament today by the Green party MP Caroline Lucas with our support. Drafted by scientists, academics and lawyers, it will – if backed all the way by MPs – strengthen the Climate Change Act and ensure that Britain has a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and restore our natural world.
The Committee on Climate Change says that the government’s 2050 net zero target gives us just a “greater than 50%” chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C if replicated across the world. We will need to make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, according to the UN, to keep below that threshold, and the bill presents a roadmap to achieve it.
As the host of the UN climate conference next year, the government has a final opportunity to show the world, and those protesting on our streets this week, that it recognises the climate and nature emergency – and will deliver a serious plan to tackle it. Parliament now has a viable pathway to tackle this crisis. Let’s get on with the job.
Wera Hobhouse MP Liberal Democrat, Alex Sobel MP Labour, Ben Lake MP Plaid Cymru, Claire Hanna MP SDLP, Stephen Farry MP Alliance, Tommy Sheppard MP SNP