Climate Change, the Environment and Global Development

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill (Programme) – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 10th July 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Shadow Secretary of State for International Development 3:46 pm, 10th July 2019

My hon. Friend makes three excellent points, all of which I hope to touch on later.

Under Labour, the Department for International Development will play a crucial role in global climate justice, and two of our five top international development priorities are to catalyse a global ecological transition and to help build a fairer global economy. We are hearing a lot about a global green new deal across countries, and Labour envisages a green industrial revolution right here in the UK, but we must be clear that the ultimate test of any such deal is whether it will solve the climate emergency, deliver decent green jobs, produce a better quality of life and, critically, bring about climate justice for the world’s poorest, because that is exactly what we must bring about.

We are talking about nothing less than a great transition in how we structure our economies and societies, and that is why I want to end on a note of hope. We spend a lot of time talking about the catastrophe that is starting to unfold and the existential threat facing the planet. The vested interests are so strong that we must keep campaigning and fighting and, yes, the media barons are not always on our side on this one. They tell us that anyone who speaks up on the climate emergency is simply insisting that we all have to make terrible personal sacrifices such as cutting our holidays or our use of plastic straws. I understand why the narrative of fear can prevail, but what the climate emergency is really about is pointing the way to the better world that we all want to live in. This is about levelling things up and radically slashing inequality. It is about our children having clean air to breathe and greener public spaces to play in. It is about living on a planet with millions more trees, travelling on better public transport and having meaningful, decent green jobs in democratically owned companies that put people and planet before profit.

My right hon. Friend Edward Miliband wrote powerfully last week that, on the climate emergency, we need to

“talk about the dream, not just the nightmare.”

We have little more than a decade to save much of our environment as we know it from extinction, but the urgency of that threat has brought ideas to the surface on how we can bring about a sustainable alternative to the economic system that took us to the brink. Labour is preparing itself so that, when in government, we will not only prevent the nightmare but make that dream a reality. We on this side of the House stand ready to collaborate with our international partners and with other parties to do everything in our power and use every lever available to make the global transition to a new, greener and fairer society.