Statement on Climate Change

With a local MP with a track record like Peter Lilley’s, I know that a lot of people in Hitchin & Harpenden are keen to know where candidates stand on Climate Change. Below is a comprehensive response:

Climate change is one of the most serious and complex challenges we face. We need concerted, immediate and sustained action to reduce carbon emissions and to avert the potentially serious environmental consequences of climate change.

Labour has always warned that climate change threatens national security because of the consequences for destabilisation of entire regions of the world, mass migration of millions of people and conflict over water or food supplies.

As you know, the previous Labour Government introduced the 2008 Climate Change Act, which set a legally binding target to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and a range of measures to improve energy efficiency, increase renewable energy and build a low carbon economy. We are very proud of the act and will continue to frame our work on energy and climate change.

The current Government is failing to take climate change seriously. Disagreement and inconsistent messages from ministers, as well as policy uncertainty on decarbonisation and support for renewables is undermining the leadership that Labour set in the past. Investment in renewables has collapsed and important measures such as a clear target to decarbonise our electricity supply by 2030 have been opposed.

A future Labour government will put in place a clear plan to mitigate and manage the impact of climate change. That will mean taking action on prevention through the 2030 decarbonisation target and an ambitious EU emissions reduction target, building our resilience to extreme weather conditions caused by climate change, and making the most of the opportunity presented by a growing green economy.

A UN climate agreement is a vital foundation for the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, and the link between climate action and poverty reduction needs to be recognised in both processes. The 2015 climate and development conferences will be crucial to setting the future direction of strategies for climate change. It marks the final year of the UN’s Millennium Goals and a key point in evaluating our progress and clarifying future goals.

A Labour Government would play an active role in delivering ambitious outcomes from these conferences. We should also ensure that Department for International Development funding is resilient, and work closely with developing countries to support innovation and sustain global momentum in fighting climate change.