Global Climate Strike this Friday

Before us lies an opportunity, to be leaders and advocates of climate justice.

Across the world, young people have been school-striking to raise awareness of the climate emergency. We have reached a stage whereby billions of people now know about the causes and impacts of climate change, yet apathy is preventing our governments from acting. Empty goals of decarbonising by 2050 are not enough, especially when we’re failing to meet targets set by the Paris Accord. The consequence of inaction is being complicit in worsening the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

If we don’t act, then we are causing poverty, death and destruction.

As a party, I believe that we should be more ambitious when it comes to the climate emergency. The Green New Deal shows that it’s possible to decarbonise the economy within 10 years whilst bringing about social justice. This could create millions of clean, prosperous jobs across the country- reducing poverty whilst helping the planet. It will require us to invest in people that have been left behind by society, wildlife habitats that we have willfully destroyed and a society that is resilient to the guaranteed impacts of climate change. Is this not the embodiment of a “fairer society, stronger economy”?

Acting now and supporting a Green New Deal means supporting the most vulnerable in society, developing our economy and safeguarding the environment.

Climate change is often overlooked as an important issue, perhaps because it doesn’t have immediate and catchy headlines for the mainstream media or we still don’t fully understand what will happen. It exposes how vulnerable the lowest in society are and the frightening future that we will be leaving to future generations. When we recognise the climate crisis as a social, economic, environmental and political problem then we must feel compelled to act and act soon.

So far our country has failed to dent our greenhouse gas emissions. Despite our massive role in causing emissions through the industrial revolution and wealthy lifestyles, we adopted a 2050 decarbonisation target. This is 20 years more than the UK Student Climate Network advocates for. As liberals, we understand that everyone has equal worth and rights. Thus when we pit this against our unequal emissions, we must balance out by decarbonising sooner than poorer nations.

On the road to a zero-carbon future we’re going to need democracy. People, with the help of experts, will need to choose how to best adapt as individuals and communities. We’ll need practical solutions that help people to live cleaner lives and discussion on how we move forward. This means community assemblies, increased power and support to local government and politicians who consistently represent their communities’ interests. I’m encouraged to see PPCs and MPs across the country who support these aims, people willing to meet youth activists and campaign in their communities for a better environment. Whether that’s litter picking or raising awareness about certain roads, local or international issues, we can all do our bit.

As a Liberal Democrat and a member of UKSCN, I think it’s vital for us to be more ambitious. We must campaign for 2030 decarbonisation using a Green New Deal, enhance our democracy and take responsibility for our actions.

What do we want? Climate Justice. When do we want it? Now.

* Aaron Smith is a member of the South West Birmingham Lib Dems and is a campaigner with the UK Student Climate Network.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Have you ever considered it may not be that bad and you’re just overreacting

  • Why has this post had only one, clearly spoof and wind-up response, when the climate is so high profile as an issue? Could someone explain to me why Caroline Lucas quotes only Clive Lewis (Labour) as being her collaborator in developing Green New Deal proposals to be presented to Parliament? Why are no Lib Dems quoted?

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