By Barry Gardiner MP and Clive Lewis MP
On Sunday 29 November, on the eve of the international climate change talks in Paris, the Labour DECC team will be joining tens of thousands of people on the world’s biggest ever climate demonstration.
It comes amidst a Conservative Government unleashing the biggest and most systematic assault on environment policy in decades. Whether slashing support for renewable energy and energy efficiency to boosting support and tax breaks for fossil fuels, it has unpicked and degraded so much of the work of the last Labour Government.
That’s why we need a united voice across society to stand up to these attacks and win the battle for jobs, justice and climate action. The climate march will show that people from all backgrounds and from across the country want the UK to deliver its fair share of action to tackle climate change, and to seize the opportunities of a modern low-carbon economy.
In Parliament, the Labour Party is doing all it can to oppose a government seemingly hell bent on squandering, what was, one of the world’s most progressive approaches to climate change and the transition to renewables.
So far we’ve successfully voted down cuts to onshore wind; we’ve opposed the cuts to solar energy, which threaten up to 20,000 jobs and have led the call against the Government’s plans to frack our national parks and the areas that supply our drinking water.
But while the Labour Party will oppose the Conservative’s attacks in Parliament – we also need a mass movement in society to pressure the Government to change course and stop the damage it’s doing.
The urgency of tackling climate change has never been greater. World temperatures have already risen at least one degree since the industrial revolution. Extreme weather events and patterns – from droughts in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East to hurricanes hitting the Caribbean and Americas – are displacing millions of people. Yet the pledges ahead of the Paris climate talks by countries around the world to cut carbon are set to put the world on a path of around a three degrees temperature rise. That’s simply not good enough. That means we need action now to reduce carbon pollution further in the years ahead.
But just as much as this march is about preventing the most dangerous climate impacts, it’s also about justice. That’s because despite contributing the least to the causes of climate change, it is the poorest countries that are most vulnerable to the risks posed by higher global temperatures. It is shameful that the Conservative Government is going into the December climate talks having unravelled key policies designed to ensure we deliver the deep cuts in carbon pollution that we need.
But moving to a low carbon economy isn’t just about global justice and the planet, as crucial as that is. It is also in the UK’s own interest.
Already renewable energy employs over 100,000 people in the UK. If the Government reversed its attacks on solar energy and instead invested in a programme of energy efficiency, we could create a further 100,000 jobs – and tackle cold homes which cause an estimated 25,000 deaths each year in the UK.
So for the climate, for justice and for our sustainable economic growth, march with us on 29 November – and make it the biggest climate march yet.
Barry Gardiner MP and Clive Lewis MP are shadow ministers in Labour Energy and Climate Change team
Sign up to march here: http://climatejusticejobs.org.uk/
Join the march on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/516078015212179/