Lynne Featherstone’s speech in climate change debate

Here is Lynne Feathestone’s speech to yesterday’s climate change debate. The party passed entirely predictable policy – in summary, Paris Agreement is fantastic. Trump and the Conservatives are awful and we are the party of renewables and the green economy.

This is what Lynne said:

It was a glorious moment in time

The signing of the Paris Agreement

The world coming together to do the right thing

Thinking of future generations

Accepting responsibility

Taking real action to turn the tide

A moment in time

But time is not on our side

And the battle intensifies

Even as 97% of experts – so beloved of Michael Gove – agree on climate change

Even as the world agrees on Climate Change

Even as we have had the hottest summers

The wettest storms

Sea levels rising

And the fiercest hurricanes in history

Climate deniers still propagate untruths

It’s a hoax made up by the Chinese

It’s a scam

scientists are fudging the numbers

In my time as Minister for International Development

I saw first hand the impact that climate change is already having in some of the poorest areas of the world

I stood in Darfur and felt desertification under my own feet.

I saw with my own eyes the ravages that too little water in Africa and too much in Asia can bring.

I implored governments and leaders to stop the fight between peoples over scarce resources.

I visited communities learning to adapt to climate change.

Those living in areas already deeply affected by climate change don’t question its existence.

They see it. They suffer from it. They didn’t cause it.

If we don’t succeed in adaptation, mitigation and keeping temperature rise below 2 degrees centigrade – then the tide of human misery we have seen fleeing conflict will be as nothing compared to those fleeing the worst ravages of climate change

But we have formidable foes in our endeavor

Donald Trump – need I say more

Big players with big financial interest and influence

And then there’s Brexit

the EU is the most ambitious bloc in the internationals climate negotiations, so if the UK is serious about climate leadership it makes no sense to separate ourselves off.

There have been positive signs just in the last week.

The cost of offshore wind has plummeted to half that of nuclear, opening up huge potential for further investment in wind energy.

A report from PwC has shown that the UK is decarbonizing at a faster rate than other G20 countries.

The fantastic work of Ed Davey and Chris Huhne in Coalition government is paying off.

But this progress will not be sustained if the Tories continue as they are.

We are up against it – with the best will in the world

And sadly, our Tory government does not have the best will in the world

Targets will be missed

Promises broken

Shale wrongly hailed as savior

Uncertainty created

Investor confidence decimated

Clean growth plan delayed

And delayed

And delayed

An industrial strategy that virtually ignores climate change

No plan for green finance

No sense of urgency

But this is urgent

We will not be able to restrict the rise in global warming to 2.0 degrees let alone 1.5 – the targets we committed to under the Paris Agreement

if we do not

And if others do not

Take radical action

It can be done

We do have the answer

The challenge is the government has its hands over its ears

It does not want to take the action needed

The economic argument alone should persuade

Even a government that hates green crap should be enticed by the economic miracle for the 21st century offered by the clean agenda over the next few decades – worth trillions.

Low carbon products

Low carbon services

With the forcing mechanisms

Of the sustainable development goals

And the Paris Agreement

These are the growth markets worldwide

These are the money making investments

Solar, storage and cutting edge technologies

Serious investors are turning this way

So we’re trying to help our incompetent government


Liberal Democrat policy is for the UK to be zero carbon by 2050

On Monday we will launch a report that I commissioned on what we need to do to deliver it

A Vision for Britain: Clean, green and carbon free

the report comprises evidence collected from a wide range of industry experts and academics after months of research

and it draws on the expertise within the party – we have a depth of knowledge and experts within our own ranks who over the last few decades have enabled the Liberal Democrats to be leaders on this agenda

the evidence is clear – the report shows we must become carbon free by 2050 in order to meet the Paris agreement

to do that we need to go further than the current 80% by 2050

we have to reduce Green house gases by 80% by 2040

To get there

We are going to have to go further and faster

We have to forge ahead on every front

We need investment in renewables

In innovative technology

We need carbon capture and storage

We need a major program on energy efficiency

We need to accelerate the deployment of renewables

A new governance structure

A rapid rollout of storage technologies

And integrated electricity system operator

To reduce demand

Address aviation and shipping

Optimize supply chains

Tackle industry

Ensure a circular economy

support for low carbon heat

low carbon transport


Close cooperation with EU I wished

what about our peatlands

what about community energy

what about housing standards

what about onshore wind

what about heat pumps

what about tidal lagoons

what about biogas

what about climate risk finance

what about jobs

what about

it’s all got to be done

it’s all got to be done

every single bit of it

done to the max


and it can only be done

with political will

a thriving green energy sector is being slowly strangled by unnecessary government delay

and as our lily livered government doesn’t seem to know the way

Liberal Democrats will bloody well show them

Support the motion

You will be able to read a full report of the debate here.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • I would like every politician, who believes that our planet, its flora and fauna, is going to survive on “zero Carbon”, to vow not to fly again.

    Credit where credit is due – I believe that Sarah Ludford has made this vow, and is AFAIK the only politician to do so.

    Let’s see our politicians practising what they preach.

  • Sadly, the models are still wrong.

  • Peter Watson 17th Sep '17 - 7:20pm

    @wg “Let’s see our politicians practising what they preach.”
    I can’t help but wonder what is the carbon footprint of all those party members travelling twice a year to congregate and hear speeches about preventing global warming?
    Perhaps Lib Dems could lead by example with online conferences and votes, with the democratic improvement that it might also bring.

  • @ wg – “I would like every politician, who believes that our planet, its flora and fauna, is going to survive on “zero Carbon”, to vow not to fly again.”

    It is important that you realise that at carbon levels lower than the current ones, there will be no flora and fauna and we shall all be dead. Carbon dioxide is essential plant food and we are at a low in the geological record.

  • Even as 97% of experts – so beloved of Michael Gove – agree on climate change

    So she’s implying that these experts are “getting it consistently wrong”.

    I think the people in this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying that they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.

    — Michael Gove, Interview with Faisal Islam, Sky News, 3rd. June 2016.

    Gove: Britons “Have Had Enough of Experts”:

  • David Jordan 18th Sep '17 - 1:31pm

    Peter. Fortunately not. The models are remarkably good but are rather peripheral to the matter in any case. They aren’t the reason why we think 1) that AGW is happening and 2) that it may be very dangerous.

    Nobody has yet proposed plausible alternatives so do you have an alternative model to propose? An alternative understanding of the physical chemistry of gas mixtures? An alternative interpretation of the effect of CO2 in the palaeoclimate record? An alternative understanding of current climate change? With data and equations and stuff?

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