It’s on its way! On Tuesday I presented my Bill which would create a legal obligation, the first for any G20 country, for the UK to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by the year 2050.
This Bill was drafted before the Extinction Rebellion protests. And whilst some hotheads in those demonstrations clearly went too far, this is evidently an issue which resonates across the generations – but particularly amongst young people who will live for longest with the consequences.
Last week I met Balcarras students who clearly share that concern. They have set up Sustain – a Young Enterprise team promoting environmental education, and their vision and energy led them to win the Gloucestershire County Finals.
They’re right to be troubled about climate change. Although the UK is currently on course for an 80% reduction (the best performance by any G7 country by the way) the science is clear: if we continue to pump even that remaining 20% of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, climate change will accelerate.
So as I said in Parliament, we in the UK need to play our part in stopping the runaway train of climate change.
That doesn’t mean we should start some sort of irrational unilateral economic disarmament. That would cause hardship and it’s unnecessary. Instead, as leading experts including Lord Adair Turner now agree, Net Zero creates the opportunity for a project of national economic renewal.
British ingenuity has placed the UK at the cutting edge of technological advances in science and engineering. We can harness and perfect this technology. And then we can sell it to the rest of the world.
Net Zero won’t be easy. But there is a great prize – a healthy planet teeming with biodiversity and holding back climate change; and a country and an economy at the cutting edge of scientific and manufacturing technology.
Let’s go for Net Zero.