View from the House: Government’s response to climate change emergency is staggeringly irresponsible


- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a landmark report last month that dominated news headlines across the planet.

The world’s leading climate scientists concluded that, at current rates, global temperatures could reach dangerous levels as early as 2030. We have 12 years to radically step up action if we are to keep climate change in safe limits.

In response, the energy minister Claire Perry sent a letter to the Committee on Climate Change, the government’s official climate advisors. She asked it to recommend further actions the government could take in the light of this disturbing report. For a moment, I thought she’d done the right thing. But then I read her letter! One simple line revealed the truth: “Carbon budgets already set in legislation [covering 2018 to 2032] are out of scope of this request”.

The government is prohibiting any recommendations from its independent advisers that tell it to act in time! It is staggeringly irresponsible for the government to say it is not prepared to change course until 2032! That is too late.

Before the IPCC report was published, Jeremy Corbyn set out Labour’s plan to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2050. We propose to dramatically decarbonise energy and insulate four million homes as part of a green jobs revolution. We will need to increase offshore wind power sevenfold and roll out the infrastructure for low emissions vehicles. It is a technological revolution that will see us lead the transition to the low-carbon future and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. But then that is what the IPCC report called for: “unprecedented, rapid and far reaching transformation”.

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