Download a pdf version of the full report on how the government should address the Climate Emergency here.

The Rt. Hon. Gentleman asked about the declaration of a climate emergency. The thing is, I do not know what that would entail. I could stand here and say, “I believe there is a climate emergency,” and he could say that, too…The question is: what are we going to do about it?”

– The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, April 201We are in the midst of a climate emergency.

The world is nowhere near meeting the internationally agreed goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The last five years were the hottest ever recorded. There are a growing number and intensity of extreme weather events. These are causing millions of people – particularly some of the most vulnerable communities across the world – to suffer huge losses to homes and livelihoods. In fact, we are currently on track to see at least three degrees of warming, which will see billions more people’s lives affected. Coral reefs will disappear, crops will fail, people and animals will go hungry.

The UK holds a unique place in history as the home of the industrial revolution and one of the greatest historic emitters of greenhouse gas emissions. We have been the birthplace of some of the greatest innovations, feats of engineering and cutting edge entrepreneurship in the world. We are now one of the leading creators and makers of the new technologies that can massively cut our carbon footprint, power our homes, factories and offices, and protect, harness and utilise the land, wind, waters and sun that are abundant on these isles. Talent, creativity and optimism is needed now more than ever before to avert the very worst impacts of climate breakdown.

The world needs instigators; those who can inspire and pioneer a modern revolution that changes the way the world works. If we are one of the countries that rise to this global challenge, future generations could prosper and flourish. We have the chance now to help lead the world to finally act.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that global emissions must be cut by 45% by 2030 to set us on the right track. Climate scientists have spoken with one voice; we must listen and we must act.

To inspire and help create global change, we need to throw our weight behind our innovators, engineers and builders to transform our economy and society. We need to bring our electricity, transport and heating systems into the 21st century. We need to dramatically increase renewable power, and ensure that communities reap the rewards by creating thousands of new, decent, secure jobs for workers in clean industries. We need to climate proof our homes, factories and offices, making them warm in winter and cool in the summer, which will cut carbon and our bills. We need to protect, nurture and enhance our land and oceans so they can absorb greenhouse gases and allow a wide range of plants and animals to thrive. We need to maintain healthy and sustainable food production, resilient in the face of a changing climate. And we need to consume less in order to cut our global carbon footprint.

Acting locally will have an impact globally. That’s why we need to support and properly fund local authorities and communities to deliver the transformation on the scale required. Mistakes made during the dismantling of the UK’s coal mining industry must not be repeated. Reskilling workers and supporting their transition from older, more polluting industries to the new green economy should be prioritised. The new industrial revolution could have no better home than here, where the old one took root. But this must not be entrusted to the whims of an unregulated market. It needs to be done fairly and to be steered by a visionary and responsible Government, supported with significant investment.

Finally, the decarbonisation plan must not cut corners through relying on international offsets. Nor should the way we count our emissions ignore aviation and shipping, or the climate impact from imports of palm oil, industrial animal feed or manufactured goods. Any plans to suck carbon dioxide out of the air should be based on what we know works – reforestation, improving soil carbon storage capacity, and habitat restoration, including peatland.

This report contains a snapshot of the immediate action across multiple sectors needed from Government to take responsibility for our emissions and put us on track to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. A cross-economy, joined-up strategy is required. These actions need to be underpinned by a legislative framework requiring delivery of ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions significantly sooner than 2045, including emissions connected to things we consume like food, which have a global footprint through their supply chain. New Government procurement rules should be introduced immediately to prohibit any future contracts with providers whose business plans are not compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. These measures can be used as an indicator of whether those in power are taking up the challenge to lead international efforts to tackle the climate emergency.