Wera Hobhouse back in the role of Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency
By Wera Hobhouse MP in GLD Challenge magazine 2020-21
It's a great pleasure to be back in the role of Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the Climate Emergency and in the position of supporting all of the wonderful work done by the Green Liberal Democrats.
With so many international climate events this year, from the Convention on Biological Diversity to COP26 being held in the UK, we will all certainly have our plates full.
These events provide us with the rare opportunity to influence international climate and ecological policy and we cannot let it pass us by.
Liberal values are absolutely essential to ensuring human rights are protected, that local governments are given the powers and resources to tackle the causes and that the voices of those on the front line of the climate crisis are not forgotten.
Together, as Green Liberal Democrats, we must hold the Conservatives to account on their promises and stop them from undermining the legitimacy of the UK on the international stage.
Despite the significant increase in green rhetoric from the Conservatives, we can see how weak their commitment to solving the climate crisis really is.
I always say that there consistent delay to climate policy is no better than outright climate denial as either way we won't hit our crucial net zero targets.
In the past few weeks they have delayed the Environment Bill, which would have allowed the Government to set targets on air quality, biodiversity, water and waste as well as created an agency to keep public authorities accountable on these targets, into the next Parliamentary session.
On top of this, reports have surfaced that the Green Homes Grant could be scrapped imminently.
Retrofitting homes is vital in the fight to tackle the climate emergency and is one of the easiest steps the country can take now to cut emissions. If this programme is ended prematurely it will be a missed opportunity and lead to more delays - delays the planet cannot afford.
This potential cancellation is the complete opposite of the Liberal Democrats' plan to retrofit our homes.
Rather than working on a year-by-year basis, we want a ten-year extension to the scheme, aiming to end fuel poverty by the middle of this decade. Only such a long-term commitment will allow industry to scale up and develop the skills base needed for this huge and critical task.
These huge blows to the climate movement have come in just the first two months of 2021, so there is no knowing what damage the Conservatives will do next to climate policy in the UK. I look forward to working with you all to fight for climate justice and rapid action to solve the climate and ecological emergencies.
At the heart of all of our work is the need for climate policies to be brought down to our local authorities. We know just how many Lib Dem Councillors work tirelessly on this and my colleagues in the Commons and Lords and I will continue to play our part in backing all your hard work from Parliament.
Wera Hobhouse MP LibDem Spokesperson for Climate Emergency and Energy, Justice and Women & Equalities, Shadow Leader of the House, MP for Bath.