We must all act on climate change
Times change and some of us must change with them to prevent following generations suffering an environmental disaster.
I am proud of the almost 30 years I spent as a coal miner in Blyth before moving from the coalface to parliament. It was hard, dirty work, but it built a real sense of community.
Now, of course, our community must be global.
At the 2017 general election, I stood on a manifesto that committed to ensuring 60 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from zero-carbon or renewable sources within the next 12 years.
But we should be much more ambitious in creating a zero-carbon economy by 2050.
The Committee on Climate Change reported that if other countries follow the UK, there’s a 50-50 chance of staying below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise – the threshold for dangerous climate change – by 2100.
This report would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. People would have laughed us out of court for suggesting the target could be so high.
But people have got to realise that real change can only come at a cost – we all must think about what we consume, and how often, and governments must put more money into renewable energy.
That’s unlikely with the current government, but the Tory government will fall and we have to be ready.
Everything we do must be judged by whether we are making progress on carbon emissions and fighting the effects of climate change.
I support plans for a seven-fold increase in offshore wind, a doubling of onshore wind and a near tripling of solar power, enough to power 19.5 million homes and generate over 400,000 jobs.
We must make all new homes zero-carbon and invest in public transport and cycle paths to reduce reliance on carbon-emitting vehicles.
I will continue to press for the government to recognise this and act to bring about a zero-carbon future.