THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS IS A RACE WE MUST WIN
OPINION: THE ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS IS A RACE WE MUST WIN
It cannot, and must not, be underestimated - the real threat that the world faces from climate change. Our focus, understandably, for the last few months has been on the major health crisis that is Covid-19. But in the hubbub of news, we should remember that this health crisis is part of the same unfolding story. Nature and the environment is connected.
In the rush to secure trade deals, the Conservatives have failed to protect our own high standards of animal welfare. This may cause greater food chain risks. This presents a serious threat to British farmers and could reduce further our self-sufficiency putting at risk the nation’s food security.
We have all seen the reality of global warming in melting ice caps, raging fires and extreme weather. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that to cap the rise in global temperatures below 1.5ºC this century, emissions of carbon dioxide would have to be cut by nearly half by 2030. Many experts say that we have a small window of 10 years to do this.
Local government has a vital role to play and it must put Net Zero Carbon at the heart of all decision making. As Liberal Democrats, we work actively to influence and show leadership on the environment at every level, for example, a council’s operations to planning, standards and licensing.
At a practical level, we want to ensure that contractors adopt much stricter measures and that buildings under council ownership are upgraded when possible. There is also a wider role for the new West Northamptonshire council to lead across the whole of the area.
This could include providing grants to improve home insulation and efficiency, electricity decarbonisation by encouraging switching to renewable energy providers, and installing heat pumps and solar panels. The Council should also beef up local planning requirements, to ensure that developers must agree to more demanding local building standards.
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