Environment and Climate Change

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:05 pm on 1st May 2019.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 6:05 pm, 1st May 2019

I shall rush what I have to say, Madam Deputy Speaker.

It may well help if we understand what we mean by “state of emergency”. Section 1 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 states that an emergency is

“an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom”.

It then lists those different events. I contend that we are in a state of emergency, and we should respond accordingly.

My main point is that we are here today because of Extinction Rebellion. People came to London—many of them from Stroud; some say that it was born out of Stroud—and they danced, sang, made speeches, got arrested, disrupted and stuck themselves to things, including my party leader’s fence. It is important to understand that the protests were about bringing home to us what we should be doing—and what we are doing today—which is declaring a state of emergency, so that we genuinely do something about climate change.

We cannot park this until 2050. We need to do things now, over the next 10 years. We need to halve our carbon emissions over that time, to stand any chance of reaching our target by 2050. We have to stop fracking. We have to stop airport expansion. We have to end fossil fuel subsidies. One thing we have not talked a lot about today is waste disposal. Waste cannot be disposed of by a massive expansion of incineration, because that will add to our emissions. I hope we will get the message and do radical things, and then the people who came here and got arrested will have done it for a purpose.