Liberal Democrats join 100 MPs in backing the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a great revealer. It has exposed the sections of our society that work well – the kindness in our communities, the brave and vital roles of our key workers, and the life-saving potential of scientific technologies – while also revealing the elements that need fixing. As the world begins a process of renewal and reform, climate change and ecological renewal must be at the centre of that positive change.

The climate and nature crisis is the most pressing problem facing the world. The question of how we can continue to sustain life on earth is existential. It would be easy to think that the pandemic has solved this quandary: as normal life ground to a halt, global emissions reduced by almost 8% in the first half of 2020 alone. But as the world begins to reopen, there is still much work to be done. 

The UK’s commitment to international agreements on carbon emissions, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, show there is a drive towards sustainable solutions to the climate crisis. But these commitments mean little if the UK and other nations fail to meet them. As it stands, the UK is off track to meet its own climate targets—the Climate Change Committee’s 2020 Progress Report found that only two of the 31 milestones for recommended actions have been fully achieved, with partial progress being made on 15 while 14 showed no progress at all. The UK is also failing to meet 17 out of 20 biodiversity targets that were set back in 2010. 

In the year that the UK co-hosts COP26, the Government needs a robust framework that will ensure it reduces its carbon footprint and protects its ecosystems. I was a lead member of the Public Accounts Committee, who alongside the Business Committee, last week urged Ministers to outline their climate plans for COP26 if the summit is to be of any success. The Government must create a clear action plan for achieving their stated targets, and the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill is a key step towards this.

This is why I am proud that every Liberal Democrat MP is part of the #Climate100—100 cross-party MPs who support the CEE Bill. The CEE Bill is the only legislation that aims to solve the climate crisis by ensuring the UK meets its climate obligations while committing to preserving and enhancing the UK’s ecological landscape.

In addition, the CEE Bill embodies Liberal Democrats’ values as it proposes a citizens’ assembly to ensure all people are at the heart of decision-making when it comes to climate and nature. The Bill has freedom and fair, representative democracy at its heart. It’s why I’ve been a firm supporter of the Bill since it was introduced by Caroline Lucas MP last year, and why I participated in a CEE Bill Alliance-Lib Dem panel earlier this year. It’s vital that politicians work with the people we represent to ensure we all make the significant but necessary changes to our lives and contribute to this collective effort to reverse climate change and ecological destruction. The CEE Bill provides a means to do this. 

As the UK enters this historic period, it could not be more vital that elected representatives throw their weight behind legislation that will provide lasting solutions to the most pressing issues of our time. I hope that other political parties will follow the Liberal Democrats and join the 100 MPs from across Parliament in supporting this vital legislation ahead of the UK’s hosting of COP26 in Glasgow in November.

Write to your MP today and ask them to back the CEE Bill. Or thank your MP if they’re part of the #climate100. Action on climate and nature is needed now, and together we can help achieve it. 

 

* Sarah Olney is the MP for Richmond Park. She joined the Liberal Democrats in 2015 and won a spectacular victory in the Richmond Park by-election in December 2016. She lost the seat by a heartbreaking 45 votes in the 2017 General Election, but then regained it resoundingly at the 2019 General Election.

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One Comment

  • Peter Hirst 11th Mar '21 - 5:03pm

    Does the Bill include making ecocide a crime? If it were the courts could be used more often to prevent policies that harm the environment. I think there is a UN effort in the same direction and it would give us more credibility at COP26.

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