SHARON HODGSON: On climate change, we need Britain to lead by example

The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, will take place this month in Scotland.

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 12:00 am
Our country needs protection from climate change and Labour will always protect the country.

The 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, will take place this month in Scotland. It will be the largest summit ever hosted by the United Kingdom, with over 30,000 delegates. After the 2015 Paris Agreement established that we must limit climate change to an increase of 1.5°C, COP26 attendees in Glasgow will look to establish ‘how’ we achieve that limit, perhaps over haggis, neeps and tatties.

They will have a lot to consider.

On climate, I want Britain to lead by example. As President Biden’s one trillion dollar green infrastructure plan presses ahead, France and Germany are pledging tens of billions of Euros to pursue the Paris Agreement targets. As for Britain, Boris Johnson has pledged only four billion pounds of green plans. The Conservatives are alienating us from our oldest diplomatic partners; they are playing politics with the planet.

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The world’s poorest countries are least responsible for climate change, given their historic emissions are comparatively very low, yet they are often the most vulnerable to its effects. COP26 must shine light on a new path for these ambitious nations, one different to the fossil-fuel dependant model followed by developed countries. In 2009, developed nations pledged a collective one hundred billion US dollars a year in climate finance for developing nations, though sadly only 78.9 billion US dollars were delivered in the subsequent ten years. Labour would reverse the Government’s cut to overseas aid, so that Britain can influence these nations towards green development, supporting them as they grow into our future trading partners.

At COP26 and beyond, we must co-operate with large nations like Australia and China to reduce emissions. That means using our diplomatic skills as a historic trading nation to make sure climate clauses are central to trade deals. Yet the Government let Australia remove references to 1.5°C from the UK-AU trade deal; what message does that send to the world?

I am optimistic about Britain’s place in the world going forward and hope that we can extend green opportunities to our partners and friends worldwide, which is why I am disappointed that the Prime Minister sacrificed a golden chance at greener trade.

Our country needs protection from climate change and Labour will always protect the country.