Climate Justice — [Sir Charles Walker in the Chair.]

Part of Innovation in Hospital Design – in Westminster Hall at 2:53 pm on 4th February 2020.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy) 2:53 pm, 4th February 2020

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairship, Sir Charles. I congratulate the new Member, Nadia Whittome, on securing this timely debate. I am sure there will be many more, but it is good to start having the debate as early as possible.

The climate crisis will affect us all, but not everybody will be affected equally. If we allow it to get worse, it will create huge global inequalities on a scale that we have never seen. Some parts of our planet will be much worse hit than others, which will create extreme poverty, hardship, displacement and possibly even war. Those who are worse hit will be those already living in poverty and struggling against extreme weather conditions.

As a Liberal, I care deeply about people from every part of the world. People in China, Argentina, Nigeria and Iran are our neighbours, which is why I try to call out human rights abuses wherever I witness them. The point has already been clearly made that climate justice and the fight for human rights are directly linked. I feel called upon to avert the climate emergency, because it is about justice across the world and, ultimately, the human rights of people who live in areas of the world that will be much worse affected than here.

At our last conference, the Liberal Democrats agreed a credible plan for how the country could cut most of its emissions by 2030 and get to net zero by 2045. Our approach is evidence-based and pro-innovation. We need to put British innovators at the forefront of the fight against climate change. I agree with many hon. Members who have said that we do not need to be doom and gloom, but we do need a plan to effect change. The most important question for this debate is how we do that fairly in this country.

In the context of climate justice, fairness means protecting the low paid, the elderly and the just about managing from higher costs. It means an understanding that if an electric car costs more, only some people will be able to buy one, and thinking about how we can continue to offer choices that are affordable to everybody. Of course, we need to make sure that we build sustainable public transport links and that public transport is affordable—currently, even that is not an affordable choice for many.