Climate and Ecological Emergency: UK’s Response

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:23 pm on 9th February 2021.

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Photo of Sarah Olney Sarah Olney Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport) 8:23 pm, 9th February 2021

It is a real pleasure to be here this evening to provide support to Caroline Lucas in this very important debate. I speak on behalf of all the Liberal Democrats when I say that we really support the Bill’s continued progress. While we have been discussing the climate and ecological emergency, for me one of the real priorities is that the Bill brings together the action needed both on climate change and on the environment. Both are absolutely critical, as the hon. Lady laid out in her excellent opening speech, but it is really clear that the current structure of government is not well set up to deliver on our objectives and the Government’s objectives in these areas. We see too much stovepiping between different Departments on both climate and the environment, and to bring everything together under one set of objectives that can be driven forward together is really important, and is the real strength of the Bill.

I have been involved in a number of digital events up and down the country to support the Bill and talk more to the public about it. It has become clear that we can use the platform that the Bill provides to speak to the public much more openly about climate and the ecological emergency. We all know that there will be a measure of individual behaviour change required, and it is urgent that we start talking to members of the public right now about what they need to do to deliver the change we need to see if we are to combat climate change and make a real difference to our environment.

Those are the reasons why I am supporting the Bill. The Liberal Democrats want to see the Bill progress through the Commons. I echo what Patrick Grady about the structures of the House not allowing that, but I believe that if a way could be found for more Members to have their say on the elements of the Bill, we would see a lot more progress.