I have been contacted by a number of constituents regarding the call for a ‘Green New Deal’.
I wanted to confirm, first of all, that I have signed the Early Day Motion that calls on the Government to declare a climate emergency and to release the necessary funding, including to local authorities, to enact a Green New Deal that would rapidly decarbonise the entire UK economy (EDM 2177).
I was also pleased that I was able to attend a debate in Parliament on 28th February on the UK's progress toward net zero carbon emissions, secured by my Liberal Democrat colleague Layla Moran and Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas. During the debate I made the point that emissions have not fallen. In fact, most recently, they have increased. It is clear that the Government’s target of ending carbon vehicles by 2040 is not ambitious enough.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that our generation faces and the Government must do all it can to tackle it. Our own county of Norfolk is under threat from the impact of climate change with rising sea levels. The potential impact on our county could be catastrophic with a large area of North and East Norfolk close to sea level. However, the consequences for places like Bangladesh are much worse with the potential for millions to lose their homes.
I do not think that the action taken by the Government to date has been substantial enough and I am determined that Britain lives up to its environmental obligations. During the coalition, the Liberal Democrats championed green energy in Government, investing in renewable energy and overseeing the trebling of renewable electricity generation. Since then, it has been bitterly disappointing to see the Conservatives rolling back the green agenda – cutting funding for renewable energy and selling off the Green Investment Bank.
I will continue to call on the Government to take urgent action to tackle climate change and to invest in a Green New Deal.