It is a pleasure to serve under your chairpersonship, Sir Charles. I congratulate my hon. Friend Nadia Whittome on securing this debate.
My generation grew up to the sound of climate warnings. Before I was even born, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had said that human activity was to blame for a planet that was quickly getting hotter, and every few years since, it has warned that we are on course to do “irreversible damage” to ecosystems and species. Two years ago, it said that preventing climate catastrophe would require,
“rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
Since its first meeting more than three decades ago, CO2 emissions have risen by more than 40%. They continue to rise, and the powerful continue to ignore the warnings.
The effects are with us now. This winter, Australia burned and Indonesia drowned. Twenty-nine people died in the fires and 66 people drowned in the floods. Across the world, we see it again and again. The Solomon Islands are disappearing beneath the Pacific, forcing people to flee. Mozambique was battered by two of the worst storms in the continent’s history last year, which claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people. The Amazon rainforest—the lungs of our planet—was set alight by warmer, drier weather and reckless profiteers. Here in Britain, floods are hitting us harder and more often. Climate breakdown is with us already, but still the powerful ignore the warnings.