It is a pleasure to speak in this important debate. There can be no more denial, no more delay and no more hesitation. We are facing a climate emergency, and unless we take urgent action, climate chaos will wreak devastation in communities across the globe. Cuts to renewable energy mean that, on current trends, the UK will be carbon neutral only by the end of the century—more than 50 years too late.
This is too late for our children, and they know it. Children and young people have been leading the way on this. As the UK Student Climate Network recently wrote:
“We will be facing…climate breakdown…if those in power don’t act urgently and radically to change our trajectory.”
We must hear these words. I pay tribute to the school climate strikers, along with Extinction Rebellion. More importantly, I want to pay tribute to the many students, children and young people in my constituency who have written to me about the climate crisis, particularly those from Alderbrook school. One year 6 student wrote to me that
“it is heartbreaking to know that our generation is going to suffer from the chaos that we haven’t created.”
That is what will happen if we do not rise to this emergency because the science is clear.
The student strikers chanted
“system change, not climate change”,
and that is what we need—that is a fact. We need a green economy, investment in renewable energy and a ban on fracking, and we need to decarbonise our society. We need this for climate justice and for social justice. We need an economy that puts people and our planet before profit. This is an emergency, and we cannot afford to wait. We must act.