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COLUMN: Helen Hayes MP

Last week Storm Abigail struck Scotland with winds of up to 85mph, leaving thousands of homes without power.

Extreme weather like this will become more frequent if together with other countries we don’t take concerted effort to tackle climate change.

The last Labour Government introduced the Climate Change Act, which delivered the world’s first legally binding carbon emissions reduction targets. The 2010-2015 Lib Dem-Tory government promised to be the ‘greenest ever’, but like so many promises made by the Lib Dems this proved to be untrue. Now the Tory government is carrying on down the same path – making policy and budget decisions, like cutting the subsidy for local solar energy projects and cancelling the zero carbon homes initiative, that have significantly weakened the fight against climate change.

Tackling climate change should be a win-win situation for us all. Two council blocks in my constituency have just been insulated from top to bottom using funding from British Gas. This will significantly reduce heating bills for council tenants and leaseholders this winter, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Investing in tackling climate change could create more than a million skilled green jobs, offering tens of thousands of apprenticeships for our young people, reducing benefit payments and increasing income from taxes to the government. Tackling climate change is an environmental and economic necessity and the most important thing we must do for our children, our grandchildren and future generations.

Global leaders will gather in Paris later this month for the UN Climate Summit.  The UK should be taking a lead in Paris, showing by example and negotiating ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions with a goal of net zero emissions in the second half of this century.   I am working closely with local groups in my constituency to send a strong message to the government that we want – and urgently need – an ambitious deal in Paris.


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