Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:07 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of Deidre Brock Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Devolved Government Relations), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment and Rural Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales) 3:07 pm, 1st May 2019

May I just say that it is about bloody time? Grave warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have been ignored by too many Governments and parliamentarians for far too long. Greenwashing and tinkering have been the order of the day. We have had Prime Ministers stating that they would run the greenest Government in history and saying, “Vote blue, get green.” We have had Ministers jetting around the globe to attend summits on how to address climate change. We have had sombre words and much head-shaking as hands were wrung and crocodiles asked for their tears back. Then, last week, a 16-year-old girl came here—an extremely impressive 16-year-old girl—and she was fawned over by some people who were anxious for some reflected glory. Suddenly, people are running around trying to look worried about this issue.

I should clarify that there have always been some voices that have been raised and that have carried warnings in this place and in others for some time. There are people who warmed these Benches warning about global warming when it was less than fashionable to do so. Some were labelled cranks and crackpots, but they picked up those names and carried on, because the issue was so important. Those people have sat on Government Benches and Opposition Benches. Most will not now be remembered, and that will be okay by them. I am glad that the Secretary of State paid tribute to Roseanna Cunningham, who is now the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in the Scottish Government. She was one such toiler. She suffered her time here as a Member in the 1990s, and she still rants about how hard she found it to get anyone to really listen to what needed to be done—not just to appear to be listening, nor to engage in a listening and engagement exercise, but actually to listen. Not that she bears a grudge.