This week Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, attended a briefing from the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, on the latest science of the risks and impacts of climate change as it relates to the UK.
As well as Sir Patrick, Parliamentarians were briefed by Prof Gideon Henderson, the Chief Scientific Adviser for DEFRA; Prof Stephen Belcher, Met Office Chief Scientist; and Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director of Cambridge Zero, the University of Cambridge’s major climate initiative.
The scientists made it clear that while the UK is making some progress, the Government are still failing on the delivery of set targets and urgently need to change their approach to certain issues – such as their policies on home retrofitting and domestic energy efficiency.
Faster action is needed this decade to limit the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Even if more positive progress is made, the UK is set to experience a higher frequency of extreme weather events and mitigations will be required. Human-induced climate change is already affecting many weather and climate extremes – often with tragic consequences – across the globe.
Today Jeff also attended a briefing on renewable energy from Renewable UK, the non-profit renewable energy trade association. The briefing explored the role that renewables must play in our transition to net zero, and how the challenges of renewables can be managed, such as relying on solar and wind energy sources at times of the year when those forms of weather are not prevalent.
“Recent reports from the IPCC and others have provided the starkest warnings to humanity so far, with scientists setting out a clear picture of the disaster that lies ahead if we continue with business as usual. At the same time, they make clear that there is still time to act, if we do so urgently.
“Unfortunately the Government is not meeting the situation with the speed and scale of action it demands. At a time when the Government is consumed with chaos and internal drama, these briefings were an important reminder to focus on what really matters and the urgent action we need.
“We need to take transformative action to bring down emissions in this decade, make climate justice a priority and accelerate the benefits of nature restoration and recovery. Labour is pushing for a green new deal and an additional £28 billion of capital investment in our country’s green transition for every year of this decade. Climate change would be at the heart of all policymaking across a Labour Government, and we would always follow the advice of scientific experts.”