Greta Thunberg’s speech to Parliament this week was a tour de force.
“Despite all the beautiful words and promises,” she told MPs, “basically nothing is being done to halt, or even slow, climate and ecological breakdown.”
Her assessment is utterly accurate. The talking has got better over the years – we now have a Government that agrees climate change is a real and present threat – but where is the necessary action?
Local Conservative MP Alex Chalk had some warm words of his own this week as the May administration launched a new bill exhorting the UK to aim for ‘net zero’ carbon emissions by 2050.
It’s a laudable target – but can we really rely on the Tories to put their words into practice?
Mr Chalk’s voting record on the environment is a grim read for anyone putting their trust in this current government. Theyworkforyou shows that “Alex Chalk consistently voted against measures to prevent climate change”.
Data on this website records Mr Chalk voting to reduce the financial incentives for low carbon electricity generation methods and for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
These are not the actions of an MP doing all he can to avert climate change. In this respect, he is precisely in line with his government’s current policy.
The Conservatives have thrown their support behind fracking, they’ve cut incentives for renewable generation, and they have failed the country wholesale on public transport.
The fact that they are now discussing wider climate issues and setting distant targets is better than nothing, but it’s pretty much just as effective.
Greta Thunberg told MPs: “We have to start treating the crisis like a crisis”.
If the Conservatives won’t do this, then we need to elect politicians who will – and fast.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell sees the climate crisis as “an emergency”, with Labour recognising that climate change and inequality are inextricably linked.
Whilst the Tories remain the party of the rich and powerful they have no real incentive to address a global emergency that will impact the many.
It’s far too late for warm words. We need action now. We need a Labour government.
Adam Van Coevorden
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in these articles are those of local Party members and do not necessarily reflect the Labour Party.