The government must call a climate emergency and act accordingly

Climate change is terrifying  (Photo by NASA via Getty Images) SUS-190315-074847001
Climate change is terrifying (Photo by NASA via Getty Images) SUS-190315-074847001

From: Dominic Manning, Chairman, Rother Environmental Group

Here are just a few headlines that appeared in some of the press over the last months:

Efforts to end fuel poverty and energy waste by making the UK’s draughty homes more efficient have collapsed by almost 85 per cent.

Committee on Climate Change said the UK’s climate crisis preparations were being run like Dad’s Army and left the population at real risk.

Sales of low emission cars in the UK have fallen for the first time in more than two years, owing to confusing policies and premature removal of subsidies.

A report by MPs calling for fast fashion retailers to address their impact on the environment and working conditions has been rejected by the government.

Britain increased support for fossil fuel projects overseas to almost £2bn last year. By comparison, support for renewables last year slumped to £700,000.

Ammonia and nitrogen pollution is harming 95 per cent of England’s land area. At least 3,000 deaths a year could be prevented by halving agricultural emissions of ammonia.

Tree-planting in England fell well short of targets in the past year. Only 1,420 hectares of trees were planted in England in the year to March 2019, against the government’s target of 5,000 hectares in the period.

The number of jobs in renewable energy in the UK has plunged by nearly a third in recent years, and the amount of new green generating capacity by a similar amount.

A vital global climate monitoring scheme in the Atlantic is being axed. It provided crucial data about how oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide and the atmosphere’s response to our burning of fossil fuels.

These articles – which don’t even include more widely covered aspects such as fracking or airport expansions – are not indicative of a government that is committed to eliminating our net carbon emissions anytime soon, in fact all indications are that the direction of travel is backwards.

Setting targets for more than 30 years from now, without any tangible action in the meantime, is no solution at all. The government must call a climate emergency now, and act accordingly. As former Environment Secretary, Amber Rudd more than anybody knows the truth. It is time to tell it.