Ilford North’s Wes Streeting urges stronger government response to climate emergency
PUBLISHED: 17:35 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:35 07 July 2020
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting has called on the government to treat the climate emergency with the urgency it has treated the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at a House of Commons debate on the Finance Bill, Mr Streeting said the treasury must “take every action necessary” post-coronavirus to move toward a Green New Deal.
The committee on climate change says that current government policy won’t be enough to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
In imploring the treasury to act, the Labour MP referenced the coronavirus pandemic: “We are living through an emergency, and we have seen a response to that emergency that reflects the scale of the challenge.
“Big changes in public policy agreed at rapid speed, and with cross-party co-operation. Every government department tasked with playing its part in the crisis response; the state, the private sector and civil society all pulling together in an attempt to avert needless loss of life.
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“The coronavirus pandemic is a public health emergency. Though mistakes have been made that could have been avoided, we now know what an emergency response looks like.”
He continued: “More than a year has passed since this house declared a climate emergency, and I don’t believe that, hand on heart, we can tell our country that we’ve seen a response to that emergency that matches the scale of the challenge of preventing catastrophic climate breakdown.”
To support his concerns, Mr Streeting said that the past 22 years have produced 20 of the warmest on record, with the UK’s hottest day ever — at 38.7° — recorded last year.
Climate change is also impacting rainfall; without urgent action, flash flooding is predicted to be five times as frequent by the end of the century.
Despite huge concern, Mr Streeting says it’s not too late to arrest the slide: “If we take the right decisions now, on industrial strategy, infrastructure, housing, energy, transport, agriculture, research and development and our natural environment, we will not only accelerate progress towards Net Zero, we will create good jobs, new industry and better opportunities in this country.”
The responsibility to take these decisions lies with the treasury, he said.
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