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

I completely agree, but unfortunately, the path to building net zero homes was stopped under the last Government. As a new Member, the hon. Lady is probably best placed to encourage the Government to make sure that we build carbon zero homes. In fact, our target is for them to be carbon zero by 2021 and at Passivhaus standard by 2025, because that is where we ultimately need to get to. That cannot be the reserve of only those who can afford it, however, so how do we build a sustainable housing programme for social and affordable homes, not just the private sector?

Fairness means that the energy efficiency of social housing and rented property cannot be an optional extra but must be a requirement for anyone wishing to be a landlord, so that it is part of letting a property for social housing providers and private landlords. A fair transition is the only way to fight the climate emergency while protecting the ideals of climate justice. A fair transition also ensures that people buy into the more radical choices involved in climate action. The climate emergency will affect us all, but it will affect some of us more than others. The longer the Government wait to implement meaningful climate action, the more people will suffer. We are running out of time to smoothly switch to a net zero Britain without compromising our health, happiness and freedoms.

At the core of the Liberal Democrat plan to get to net zero is a just transition commission to understand where the biggest economic impacts of changing to a net zero society will be, and to create future jobs before the job losses in fossil fuel industries are incurred. We need to set up citizens’ assemblies to involve all parts of the public in the discussion, so that we formulate together the aims and ambitions for getting to net zero fairly. Most of all, the Government have to set out a credible coherent plan to set the direction for how the UK will get to net zero.

As the country that led the industrial revolution, we have been one of the biggest polluters over time. We as a country have a moral duty to provide global leadership to tackle the climate emergency here and across the world without delay.