COMMENT: Labour is the party to tackle Climate ChangeFebruary 23rd, 2015
When I introduced myself to Ed Miliband as the Labour PPC for Hitchin & Harpenden, he burst out laughing and replied “so you’re up against a Climate Change denier then?”. So said the former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change who introduced the country’s first ever Climate Change Act in 2008 which committed this country to ambitious Climate Change objectives. And as Prime Minister he has pledged to work for:
- Ambitious emissions targets for all countries, reviewed every five years, based on a scientific assessment of progress towards the 2C goal.
- A goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.
- Transparent, universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions with all countries adopting climate change adaptation plans.
- A deal whereby richer countries provide support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change
So it was with much surprise that I learnt that the UKIP candidate didn’t think Climate Change was particularly relevant to his campaign here. Nor was he that bothered about Lilley’s extra curricular activities – in the oil industry, in Kazakhstan and in China. After all “many MPs have second jobs”, but Lilley is also a Climate Change skeptic – a fact not wholly unrelated to the interests of the oil industry. And he doesn’t just have one second job but several and his earnings from them greatly exceed his MP’s salary. This is wrong whatever party the MP represents.
So, if you believe that Climate Change is happening then that rules out the Tories and UKIP. But the next question is: what do you do to tackle it? Given the Cost of Living Crisis of the last few years, it would be both unwise and unjust to tackle it in a way that would result in more expensive Energy bills for hard-pressed consumers.
That is why, at the heart of Labour’s strategy, is their “War on Cold Homes”. Britain has some of the least energy efficient housing stock anywhere in Europe – so even consumers in colder countries with higher energy prices can have lower bills. Labour has pledged to make at least 5 million homes more energy efficient over 10 years – cutting heat loss and cutting bills for low income families.
But technology is always advancing. We can build homes that would require no Energy bills at all. But we need political will – and for that we must defeat the arguments of the Climate Change deniers.