Watch: David Drew MP calls for action on climate emergency
Yesterday Parliament declared a climate emergency under Part 1 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. As former Labour leader Ed Miliband stated on Newsnight last night, “Climate change is the ultimate challenge to politics.” It challenges us to consider the social, economic and environmental consequences of our actions on future generations well into the future.
I contend that we are in a state of emergency, and we should respond accordingly.
My main point is that we are here today because of Extinction Rebellion. People came to London — many of them from Stroud; some say that it was born out of Stroud — and they danced, sang, made speeches, got arrested, disrupted and stuck themselves to things, including my party leader’s fence. It is important to understand that the protests were about bringing home to us what we should be doing — and what we are doing today — which is declaring a state of emergency, so that we genuinely do something about climate change.
We cannot park this until 2050. We need to do things now, over the next 10 years. We need to halve our carbon emissions over that time, to stand any chance of reaching our target by 2050. We have to stop fracking. We have to stop airport expansion. We have to end fossil fuel subsidies. One thing we have not talked a lot about today is waste disposal. Waste cannot be disposed of by a massive expansion of incineration, because that will add to our emissions. I hope we will get the message and do radical things, and then the people who came here and got arrested will have done it for a purpose.
The consistent and urgent messages of Extinction Rebellion have been heard at the heart of Parliament. But having declared an emergency, it is now the responsibility of this and future governments to actually cross the rubicon, to stop talking and focus on achieving real change.
You can read about Labour’s campaign for a Green New Deal in the UK here.