I’m supporting our local Labour Councillors calling for Westminster Council to declare a Climate Emergency at its next meeting on 18 September.

Sign the petition now to show Conservative-controlled Westminster that you support local action to tackle the climate emergency.

There is no doubt that we are already dealing with the consequences of catastrophic climate change that is leading to weather extremes, natural disasters and rising sea levels. Whilst many of the poorest countries in the world will be worst affected no-one will escape the consequences. Temperatures in the UK are expected to rise regardless of how strongly emissions are reduced, and it is clear that the Government is chronically failing to prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change, putting communities, industry and infrastructure at real risk.

The UK’s independent climate adviser the Committee on Climate Change has recommended that the Government legislate for the country to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It said this target was feasible and deliverable and could be met for the same cost as our existing targets were expected to have when they were agreed over a decade ago.

In June, the Energy Secretary made a statement to the House of Commons to say he was introducing legislation to amend the Climate Change Act 2008 with a new, legally-binding target of net zero emissions by 2050.

I have supported a 2050 net-zero emissions target for some time now and I welcome the Energy Secretary’s statement. However, we are currently off-track to meet our existing interim climate targets and since 2015 the Government has systematically dismantled policies designed to tackle climate change. It has effectively banned onshore wind. It has reduced almost all support for solar power. It has scrapped the zero-carbon homes standard. It has also sold the UK Green Investment Bank, removed support for tidal power and promoted fracking.

Legislating for a new net-zero emissions target is a welcome first step, but it is also vital that the Government takes the strategic decisions necessary to achieve it. This will require large-scale new investment, co-ordinated planning, new laws, and, as with any emergency, significant Government intervention. These things must be at the heart of the green industrial revolution we need to meet the challenge of tackling the climate crisis and I will be at the launch of the Labour Green New Deal campaign.

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