Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time and it is happening at a terrifying pace.
The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that we need to act urgently on climate change over the next 12 years or forever miss the opportunity to do anything about it.
Last August, a small group of schoolchildren decided to walk out of school to take a stand against climate change, inspiring a global movement.
Since then, children from across the country have been calling for urgent action.
I supported Warrington South schoolchildren who have been out in the town campaigning on this issue – speaking passionately about the need to tackle the causes of climate change before it is too late.
In Westminster, Labour recently used an opposition motion to push Parliament to declare a climate and environment emergency. We must now act with urgency to avoid more than 1.5C of global warming.
The motion called for targets for the mass rollout of renewable and low-carbon energy and transport, properly-funded environmental protection measures to reverse the trend in species decline, as well as plans to move towards a zero-waste economy.
Speaking in the debate, I argued that it would be fitting if Britain – the county which led the industrial revolution – were the architects of a green revolution today. I backed calls for parliament to declare a climate and environment emergency.
Following pressure from me and my Labour colleagues, the Government was forced to listen and to finally support Labour’s declaration.
Everything Government, MPs and local government do on these issues must be judged by whether we are making enough progress on reducing carbon emissions and fighting the effects of climate change.
Last November, Bristol and Manchester councils passed motions declaring a ‘climate emergency’ and set out targets aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030 and 2038 respectively. Since then, a number of other local authorities across the UK have followed suit.
Most councils which have made these declarations have committed to become carbon neutral by 2030 or earlier and are calling for action to prevent a dangerous rise in global temperatures.
I recently wrote to Warrington Borough Council, urging them to take the same decisive action by declaring an environment and climate emergency.
I hope the Council will take the radical action that is needed in the face of this international and time-critical crisis.
In the coming months, I will be hosting a Green Summit so that we can look at what action we in Warrington South can take to tackle these pressing environmental issues and effect the change that is needed now.
Only through urgent and co-ordinated action can we tackle this crisis.
Doing nothing is simply not an option.