Government Plan for Net Zero Emissions — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:30 am on 8th October 2019.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport) 10:30 am, 8th October 2019

I love the way Emma Hardy promotes what her community does. I am just as proud of my council in Bath and what it is doing.

It is true that we need to harness the energy of everybody. It worries me that we have all been guilty of complacency; we have not done enough. It is not that we are saying that we have done nothing, but we have not done enough. This Government need to step up and to understand that we need to do more than we have done in the past. That is all I am pleading for.

As Liberal Democrats, we believe that at the heart of the transition needs to be a massive transformation of how we do things in the next 10 years. There needs to be a fair transition. We need to set up a fair transition commission—the Government could do that tomorrow—to look at which communities are the most affected by the change, where we will face the most job losses and where industries will collapse, and to provide new jobs and new opportunities. We need to take those communities and the people who are most affected with us, so that the people who can least afford it do not have to pay the highest price. That is very important. The Government could set up a just and fair transition commission tomorrow if they were serious in their thinking about the subject.

Bringing people with us has been talked about a lot, as well as how we are organising citizens’ assemblies. Again, the Government could start that process now. It is not just a matter of informing people about what we want to do; we have to involve people in decision making. Citizens’ assemblies do not take decisions out of Government or Parliament; they allow people to be part of decision making by letting them develop options. Anybody who is serious about taking people with us should look at the way citizens’ assemblies work. They do not just inform people at the bottom from the top; they allow people from the bottom to help us come to good decisions. I trust in people and I believe that we can involve them. Let us set up citizens’ assemblies; we can do that tomorrow.