Tag Archives: net zero

28 February 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Welsh Lib Dems call for national net zero framework
  • Welsh Lib Dems demand fairer deal for farmers

Welsh Lib Dems call for national net zero framework

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to build a national framework to strengthen local authorities’ climate action plans.

Currently, the Welsh Local Government Association receives Welsh Government funding to help local Authorities develop a climate action plan.

19 of Wales’ 22 local authorities have declared a climate emergency, with 14 of these having a climate action plan.

However, according to the Climate Emergency UK’s 2021 scorecard, Welsh local government plans received an average score of 31% compared to a national average of 50%.

Commenting, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds MS said:

The Welsh Government’s net zero approach, whilst well-intended, lacks a clear framework for area-based climate action in Wales.

According to the Climate Emergency UK’s 2021 scorecard exercise, Welsh local authorities’ climate action plans received an average score of 31%, well below the UK national average of 50%.

With local authorities having influence over roughly a third of emissions in their local area, there is a clear need for a coordinated territorial approach.

We need a unified approach if we want to reach net zero within the set time zone.

By working together and establishing a coordinated national framework that can help guide local authority plans, we can take the first step in delivering a better tomorrow for us all.

Welsh Lib Dems demand fairer deal for farmers

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called on the Welsh Government to deliver a straightforward and simple farming scheme that works for both food producers and the natural environment.

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How the Lib Dems can be distinctive on the environment

It’s important to remind people that we were Britain’s original Green Party. We were into environmentalism in the 1920s when the Liberal Party’s Yellow Book proposed setting up national parks. The party’s manifesto at the February 1974 general election was one of the greenest ever, and the Liberals had policies in the 1979 manifesto decrying the measurement of economic growth in terms of GDP.

It’s also important to remember that being the first doesn’t mean we remain the authority on political representation of environmentalism. Far from it. In a YouGov opinion poll five months ago that asked “Which political party do you think would be best to handle the environment and climate change?”, the Lib Dems came fourth. The Greens were top with 25%, Labour second with 15%, the Conservatives third on 12%, and we polled just 4% (others 2%, don’t know 26%, none 17%). Yet the party’s commitment to the environment is integral to Liberalism – Liberals regard the environment as part of the common good, so we condemn any entity that harmfully exploits the natural environment.

The problem, therefore, is the messaging: how do we Lib Dems get voters to see that we are a fundamentally green party? This formed the basis of the discussion on the second Green Book podcast, published by the people behind The Green Book that appeared in 2013. Hosted by the next MP for Eastbourne – sorry, got ahead of myself there – by the Lib Dem PPC for Eastbourne Josh Babarinde, it featured discussion among the veteran environmental activist Tom Burke (now of the E3G think tank), James Murray, the founding editor of Business Green, and Chris Willmore, a former sustainability professor who’s now the Lib Dem cabinet member for planning and regeneration at South Gloucestershire council.

You can watch the episode here:

The discussion is well worth a listen, because there were different approaches to the central issue of how to make the Lib Dems distinctive on green issues. It covered several aspects of the environmental debate, including the risk of voter backlash, and that old chestnut of how you find the balance between, on the one hand, letting the state set the price signals and then leaving it to individuals and businesses to be the change, and, on the other, allowing the state a bigger role in order to green our way of life via a ‘just transition’.

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21 November 2023 – today’s press releases

  • Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage
  • 400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement
  • Sexual harassment survey: Comment on BTP findings
  • Welsh Lib Dems urge speed up of Net Zero Plan
  • Welsh Lib Dems call more for ambitious clean air target
  • Welsh Lib Dems lay down their demands for Wales from upcoming Autumn statement

Surfers against Sewage Report: “Shameful” that people are falling sick from swimming in sewage

Responding to the Surfers Against Sewage report which has found bathing sites in the UK are failing to meet minimum safety levels, while hundreds of people are falling sick due to sewage pollution, Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson Tim Farron MP said:

It is shameful that so many popular swimming spots are being ruined and people are getting seriously ill because of filthy sewage dumping. Water companies are being allowed to get away with committing environmental vandalism on a huge scale while pocketing huge bonuses.

This is an insult to families across the country who just want to swim at their local river or beach without worrying about falling sick because of disgusting sewage. It’s about time Conservative ministers cracked down on sewage dumping, starting with banning bonuses for water company bosses until this filthy practice is brought to an end.

400,000 patients waiting for NHS treatment since last Autumn Statement

  • The NHS backlog has grown to 7.8 million since last year’s Autumn Statement, with almost 400,000 waiting for treatment since before November 2022
  • Liberal Democrat Leader calls on the Chancellor to bring down NHS waiting lists to get people back to work and boost economic growth
  • Ed Davey: “Any plan for economic growth needs a plan for urgent NHS action. Without a new NHS plan, tens of thousands of people will be left out of work, in pain, desperate for treatment.”

Nearly 400,000 patients have been on a waiting list to start NHS treatment since before last year’s Autumn Statement, research by the Liberal Democrats has been revealed.

This new analysis of NHS figures shows a staggering 391,122 patients have been stuck in a backlog waiting for consultant-led treatment since before last November’s Autumn Statement. Meanwhile, the number of patients stuck on NHS waiting lists has increased to 7.8 million, up 700,000 compared to last year.

It comes as new polling by the Liberal Democrats found that one in seven working age adults (15%) say they’ve had to take a significant length of time off work in the past year as they wait for NHS treatment or surgery for a health condition.

The Liberal Democrats are warning that these treatment backlogs are damaging economic growth and will continue to impact both the economy and people’s quality of life without a significant rescue package.

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It must be said

There will be many who will criticise Tory MP Chris Skidmore’s 340-page Mission Zero report.  They’ll probably say it doesn’t reach far enough, is far too obsessed with business benefits, and doesn’t question the UK’s woefully inadequate 2050 Net Zero target.  

Climate activists may be appalled that the report doesn’t call for radical overhaul of capitalist norms, whilst climate change objectors will also be aghast that the consequent work schedule will overshadow all other get-rich-quick opportunities.  And, for extra discomfort, this report highlights how many great opportunities have been squandered on their watch.  Both camps will be outraged in equal measure: a sure sign that this report is a small, practical, step in the right direction and probably the best we can hope for this side of a General Election or a national uprising.   

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What’s in a (Net Zero) date?

One of the questions that’s likely to be asked in tonight’s Channel 4 environment leader’s debate is about the target date by which the UK should reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions. In the summer the government legislated for 2050. In September Liberal Democrat conference voted for our policy paper Tackling the Climate Emergency, which argued for 2045. The Labour conference voted for 2030 (though that’s not in their manifesto). The Green Party has gone for 2030, and Extinction Rebellion campaigns for 2025. 

Against these targets, our policy can look rather cautious. 2045 seems like a long way away; doesn’t that mean that government will do nothing until a few years beforehand and then rush to hit it? I’m sure Lib Dem Voice readers know what’s wrong with that argument – although this was the approach that a Conservative minister genuinely suggested to Ed Davey when we were in government.

Arguing over the net zero target date in isolation is simplistic and misleading. In reality, reaching net zero will require enormous effort, stretching over decades and affecting all sectors of the economy; it’s not something you can leave to the last moment. The real debate we need to have is over how we plan to meet the target; what’s the policy programme that cuts emissions fast where we know how to, and lays the foundations for progress where we don’t yet know the right solutions? And when you start to think about what’s needed for electricity, heating, transport, aviation, industry, farming and land use – and how you persuade people to change the way they live their lives, because it isn’t only about government action – you start to understand why near-term targets like 2025 or 2030 are an unrealisable fantasy.

Liberal Democrats set out, in our policy paper and in the manifesto, how we can make rapid progress in cutting emissions from power generation, through accelerating the uptake of renewables, and in heat in buildings, through a massive energy efficiency programme. Between them we think we can cut UK emissions by more than half over ten years.

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