I have been a member of Labour’s national environment campaign, SERA, for many years, and sit on its executive. I believe that we must keep the environment at the centre of our policies; we must safeguard the Earth for future generations. I supported the #ClimateStrikes in Cambridge, and was inspired by the young people who are so passionate about environmentalism. I was pleased to meet some of the young people involved, and was really impressed by their passion for one of the most important issues in the 21st Century. I arranged for Michael Gove, then Environment Secretary, to meet with Cambridge’s young people about this; it’s an issue which is too important to dismiss.
I also raised the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report last year with Government ministers, in relation to the extreme weather we are seeing all over the world, damaging vulnerable communities. This Government may be acting on plastic bags and straws, but it is failing to address the big picture of social change needed to really protect our environment. I signed a letter with other MPs urging the Energy Minister to commit to zero carbon before 2050; we must have ambitious targets, not just tinker round the edges.
As a Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, I co-led an inquiry into the impact of internet use and data centres on climate change. We must make sure that as technology develops, we focus on keeping it as green as possible!
I’ve also pressed the International Development Ministers on climate change around the world – I raised the issue of oil and gas extraction abroad, and asked about aid funding going into this industry. Climate change will hit the world’s most vulnerable the hardest, so we must invest in sustainability around the world.
Sustainable transport must be at the top of Labour’s transport agenda. I chaired a panel at Labour conference with our national environment campaign, SERA, on green transport and infrastructure. I have long been interested in how to make existing vehicles greener, such as retrofitting buses. I was delighted with Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald’s plans for putting the environment at the centre of our environment policy.