The action we need on climate change

Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, has backed Labour’s calls on the Government to go further in tackling climate change, ahead of the rescheduled COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow next year.

Labour is urging the Government to take action at home to put the UK on track for net zero emissions, and also abroad, by aligning UK export finance with our obligations under the Paris Agreement.

This comes over a year since the UK Parliament declared an environment and climate emergency, and 2 years since the first ‘school strikes for the climate’ took place, sparking global action. Since then, the Tory Government has failed to match the climate ambitions required.

The need to rebuild the economy in the wake of the coronavirus makes this even more pressing. The UK’s recovery from the pandemic presents an opportunity to bring forward an ambitious stimulus package geared towards the rapid decarbonisation of the economy.

Labour is calling on the Government to use this moment to create new green jobs across the country and lay the foundations for an enhanced 2030 climate pledge.

Labour’s Shadow Climate Change Minister, Matthew Pennycook, set out Labour’s specific demands in a recent letter to the Business Secretary and COP26 President, Alok Sharma;

  • Change UKEF’s mandate to ensure that any financing provided by it is aligned with the UK’s climate commitments and the Paris Agreement
  • End all financing of new overseas fossil fuel projects and review the decision to use public money to underwrite the Mozambique onshore LNG project
  • Leverage UKEF’s position among other OECD export credit agencies to ensure multilateral action towards net zero emissions by taking up the EAC’s recommendations from last June; and
  • Bring forward a Just Transition Plan for affected British workers to retrain and reemploy them in decent, long term jobs in renewable projects instead

Labour’s Shadow Climate Change Minister, Matthew Pennycook, said:

“The energy efficiency measures set out in the summer statement were welcome but what has been announced to date in no way amounts to the “green recovery” that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has promised.

“Narrowing the gulf between the Government’s rhetoric on climate action and the reality is going to require far more domestic ambition before the year’s end.”

Jeff said:

“COP26 in Glasgow will be a key moment in the global fight against destructive climate change. As the first country in the world to industrialise, the world’s sixth-largest economy, and the summit’s host, the UK has a responsibility to be ambitious and make it a success.

“We’re also at a turning point in terms of how we rebuild the economy after coronavirus. The path we choose to take will have huge consequences for our ability to tackle climate change meaningfully.

“We must keep pressure on the Government to set more ambitious targets, end all financing of overseas projects which don’t align with our climate goals, and trigger a green recovery with mass green job creation, as we build back better from the pandemic.”

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