Keynsham Voice December column: A climate election?

A recent poll revealed that almost two thirds of people think politicians are not discussing climate change enough, and over half said climate change will influence the way they vote in the election. Seven in 10 people said the climate emergency demands more swift action.

Charities and business representatives like the UK Health Alliance, the WI and the CBI are also calling for clear and urgent action on climate change from the next government. The CBI’s head said in a recent speech that “to tackle the climate emergency in the time we have, we need to go faster, and further than ever before.”

The reasons for making this a climate election are clear. With only 10 years left to make the changes that will keep temperatures to a 1.5C rise, key decisions must be made by the next government that will determine whether we succeed or fail.

Important environmental issues up for government approval in 2020 include airport expansion, North Sea oil licenses and road building programmes. A ten-year investment strategy in the green economy is also needed to meet our target to become net zero carbon.

As we leave the EU, the UK must shape its own environment bill to determine environmental regulations on everything from cleaning up polluted air and reducing single-use plastic, to restoring the natural world for wildlife. Ministers will also have to decide how to replace the Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy. These will have a huge impact on our countryside and seas.

These are just some of the ways the UK can take positive actions that tackle climate change and enhance the environment we live in, clean up our land and seas, and bring jobs and investment into our economy. As hosts of the UN’s climate change conference in 2020 we can also lead by example and bring nations together to tackle the issue collectively.

We have an opportunity to quiz Keynsham’s MP hopefuls at a Climate Hustings on December 6th at 7pm at The Space. There will be a chance to find out about all the parties’ pledges on climate change and ask: are they going far enough, fast enough?

 

Published in Keynsham Voice, December 2019, www.keynshamvoice.co.uk

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