This is the second time I have written about the climate but with last week’s announcement from the IPCC and activity in Cornwall from Extinction Rebellion highlighting the threat of rising sea levels and the extinction of marine life, I make no excuses for taking up column inches on the greatest risk we currently face.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released a new report written by some of the most knowledgeable scientists on the planet which reports that the climate crisis is damaging the ability of the land to sustain human life and will worsen as temperatures rise.
The report says global heating is increasing droughts, soil erosion and wildfires while diminishing crops in the tropics and thawing permafrost.
The report is clear that we face a stark choice. We can continue to destroy forests and keep on with our current intensive farming practices which will in turn intensify the climate crisis. Or we can act now and allow soils and forests to recover and store carbon and cut meat consumption and food waste.
It is time to address the climate crisis whilst we can. We have a limited number of years to stop global warming and Cornwall is ideally placed. We are creating a lot of renewable energy and at times our wind turbines need to be turned off as we've reached a maximum download to the grid. We could become self-sufficient for energy but all this government is doing is continuing to focus on fossil fuels that we desperately need to move away from to reduce CO2 emissions. They've increased VAT on renewables and allowed fracking, a hazardous procedure and one which contaminates vast amounts of water. The United Kingdom is now on course to miss carbon reduction targets and a legally binding 15 percent renewable target by 2020. The government are not taking the climate crisis seriously and heading in the opposite direction creating further damage.
The temperature of the planet has already increased by nearly one degree and we are approaching a point of no return. Many biologists believe we are living through the sixth major mass extinction where more than 75% of species will become extinct.
Whilst the planet burns, our new Prime Minister is spending money like there is a bottomless pit on a possible no deal, having increased money allocated to this to £6 billion. I’m sure the final bill will be much higher. Money that should be spent on addressing the climate crisis, creating a public transport system to help us move away from our reliance on cars, and helping the increasing numbers of people who are living in fuel poverty.
A no deal Brexit will affect people who have the least most. Businesses are already suffering, and the pound has hit its lowest level for many years. We are predicted to be nine months away from a recession.
There is a will to make change happen and address our climate crisis, many of us are trying to stop flying, reduce car use, change to green energy suppliers, eat locally sourced food, consume less meat and dairy, use seasonal produce and reduce food waste. We can do many things ourselves, but it needs government to respond and at present they only seem to be interested in making a horrid mess of Brexit, and the economy.
Governments are best placed to introduce legislation to enable us all to cut down our reliance on fossil fuels and to embed net zero carbon policy at all levels and departments of government. As well as working internationally with other governments to make progress on taking action across the world.
Labour have plans for a Green Industrial Revolution that takes the climate crisis seriously which will be good for the planet, people and business. Labour is committed to taking action on the scale that is required to address our climate crisis. We need a Labour government and we need it now.
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This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party