Net Zero Carbon Emissions: Uk’S Progress

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion 3:39 pm, 28th February 2019

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right; cross-party collaboration has to be central. The less that we depend on fossil fuels, the better, but I appreciate that that is something that we are all trying to do and it is incredibly important that we do.

This is urgent. That is why the alarm call that young people gave us in the climate strikes a week or so ago was so very important. They know that in this moment of political paralysis and morally unforgivable inaction on climate, only something really big will shifts our politics in a new direction and attempt something new. I am really proud that across the country we now have over 25 local authorities that have declared a climate emergency, with our schools and universities doing the same thing.

This Parliament must also declare a climate emergency. These are extraordinary times and they call for extraordinary measures. Declaring a climate emergency would mean that it would not be another two years before we have a debate like this in the Chamber. It would perhaps mean that we have a cross-cutting Select Committee on climate breakdown and make sure that climate change is part of every inquiry that Members undertake. It would mean that every new law must be climate-proofed. It would mean redefining and reshaping the debate on climate change.

We have made some progress. I hear the Government saying what wonderful progress they have made. But if we take into account our consumption emissions—the emissions linked to all the products that we consume because we have outsourced manufacturing—then actually our progress looks an awful lot less good. Let us be honest about the scale of the challenge that we face and deliver on the future for those young people.