LibDem Candidate Chris Bowers responds to RSPB Let Nature Sing questions
Originally published by Wealden Liberal Democrats
We've updated our General Election 2019 FAQ page - Wealden's LibDem Parliamentary candidate answers questions about the environment sparked by an RSPB initiative...
QUESTION: What are you personally pledging to do to help protect the environment?
A number of people have written to Chris asking him to use his voice to protect the environment. This was an initiative started by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds called Let Nature Sing in the General Election, but covers a number of environmental topics and asks candidates to answer three questions amounting to a pledge.
CHRIS BOWERS ANSWERS: Not only are the Liberal Democrats dedicated to tackling environmental crises with the appropriate urgency, but our explicit aim of stopping Brexit is vital to protecting nature. This is because so many environmental protections come from the EU yet Boris Johnson's Brexit deal actually waters down the clause from Theresa May's Brexit deal that had committed the UK to keeping all EU environmental standards.
We are the only party with a radical, credible and detailed plan to tackle the climate emergency without delay. Instead of getting distracted by a fake auction of when we can achieve zero net carbon emissions, we need to stave off the tipping point by taking urgent action to reduce greenhouse gases now. Our new and updated climate change strategy, on which I worked, does just this.
In addition, our platform includes commitments to transform our government to place the environment at its heart, and to reverse the damage we've done regarding climate change, air, sea and land pollution, depletion of resources, and other environmental topics. For example, we will set targets for the recovery of our natural environment - tackling the climate emergency goes hand in hand with nature recovery. The Liberal Democrats would make Britain the world leader it should and deserves to be.
The Conservatives have shown an alarming lack or urgency on the climate emergency, and seem not to value the loss of biodiversity that's happening around us. They are not on track to meet the UK's climate targets and their 25 Year Environment Plan is just warm words that have not been delivered. At a political debate at Uckfield College earlier this year, the veteran Wealden Conservative councillor and former MP Roy Galley showed appalling complacency about global warming when he said we should wait for technology to deliver a solution. The Conservatives are simply unfit to be entrusted with the fight against climate breakdown.
Now to answer the three specific questions posed by the RSPB letter...
Q1: Will Liberal Democrats build on existing nature protection laws, ensuring they remain at least as strong as they are now?
A: Yes. Liberal Democrats will always advocate for strong nature protection laws. Backtracking on existing legislation would be unwise and harmful. By stopping Brexit, we will ensure our existing nature protection laws remain at least as strong as they are now, and a Liberal Democrat government will strengthen them.
Q2: Will Liberal Democrats set binding new targets for nature's recovery?
A: Yes. A Liberal Democrat government will pass a new Nature Act modelled on the Climate Change Act to see binding targets and interim targets for nature's recovery. Nature recovery and tackling climate change go hand in hand so, as well as implementing measures for immediate substantial cuts in warming emissions, we will also set a new legally binding target to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 at the latest, and implement a comprehensive climate action plan, cutting emissions across all sectors.
Q3: Will Liberal Democrats establish a world-leading environmental watchdog to ensure nature is truly protected?
A: Yes. Liberal Democrats have long been committed to the establishment of an Office of Environmental Protection that is fully independent of government to ensure the UK is truly taking steps to protect nature. This body will be able to hold the government to account on its targets for both nature recovery and climate change.
All Liberal Democrats are committed to building a brighter future for this world and future generations - and indeed, have an active environmental subgroup within the party, the Green LibDems. I passionately believe that we must all take the recovery of nature and the climate emergency seriously and act now.