This Autumn, the Tories credibility on climate will be made or broken. They are due to publish a suite of plans including the Net Zero Review, the Net Zero Strategy, and the CSR, in the context of a slew of climate warnings and news coverage of hurricanes, fires, and floods, before the UK hosts COP26 in November, which will be the largest summit the UK has ever hosted and this Parliament’s defining test for ‘Global Britain’.
In 2015, the Paris Agreement achieved unprecedented global commitment. Paris defined the ‘what’ – an ambition to limit global warming to 1.5C – Glasgow must now deliver the ‘how’, setting out clear commitments and delivery plans that will “Keep 1.5C Alive”.
We are currently significantly off track to meet that target, both at home and internationally. The latest UN analysis indicates that current climate pledges will see emissions continuing to rise by the end of this critical decade; the UN says they must fall by 45% by 2030 in order to stay below 1.5C.
We want to work with the Government to make COP26 the success our planet urgently needs, and we will always engage with the Government on issues of national and international interest. But the aims of COP26 are being damaged by domestic policy and by the PM’s failure to show the political leadership required and instead rolling over to big polluters.
The UK needs to lead at home to enable leadership abroad. Boris Johnson must get his own house in order to recapture UK credibility – or go down in history as the leader that squandered our planet’s last best chance to avert catastrophic climate breakdown.
In his speech yesterday, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change, Ed Miliband set out that success at Glasgow is all about the maths, and the government are miles from where we need to be. In hard numbers, to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, the world needs to reduce emissions from 53 gigatonnes, to 25 gigatonnes in 2030. There are currently estimated to be less than 4 gigatonnes of emissions reductions on the basis of pledges agreed so far, leaving a 24-25 gigatonne gap.
Our approach would focus on three broad areas: 1) the need to lead by example here at home, particularly as the COP hosts; 2) the need to support the world’s most vulnerable, both as a matter of principle and to build the coalition between highly-ambitious and highly-vulnerable countries essential to; 3) pressure the big polluters (both nations and fossil fuel giants) to step up and do more. Each of our asks for Glasgow has a clear domestic critique attached to it.
Labour’s five demands of the Government to “Keep 1.5C Alive”:
1) Leading by example. Climate action must start at home. By investing £28bn every year until 2030 to tackle the climate crisis, we can protect the planet and create secure jobs in the UK.
2) Supporting the most vulnerable by reversing the overseas aid cut, delivering and surpassing the $100 billion pledge to help developing countries cut emissions and adapt to climate change, and vaccinating the world’s poorest.
3) Pressuring the big polluters by calling for 1.5C-aligned targets from the big emitting countries, phasing out fossil fuels, and ensuring a just transition for workers.
4) Protecting nature by ending deforestation and ensuring all emissions reduction protects and promotes nature. We also need a robust Net-Zero and Nature Test for all government spending.
5) Mobilising private finance behind climate action by requiring financial institutions and FTSE 100 companies to publish their carbon footprint and adopt credible 1.5C-aligned transition plans.