Home > News > Articles & speeches > Why we must declare a climate emergency

This article first appeared in the Llanelli Star on 1st May 2019

It is fantastic to see climate change back on the political agenda, after far too many years of it being side-lined by this Tory Government. This renewed interest is thanks in large part to the inspirational 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, whom I was lucky to see when she came to give a powerful speech in Parliament.

Greta delivered a stark message about the environmental and social catastrophe that awaits us if we do not go much further and much faster in reducing our carbon emissions. She has inspired millions of people around the world to take to the streets and demand that politicians take this seriously. It was great to join some passionate Extinction Rebellion activists at a protest in Swansea recently.

Labour heeded these calls by declaring a climate emergency in Parliament last month, and we have challenged the Conservatives to do the same. Not only have they failed to do so, but Ministers are not doing anywhere near enough to prevent a climate disaster… Whether it is abandoning the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, taking away financial support for renewable energy like onshore wind or pressing ahead with fracking in England, the UK Government has shown that, for them, climate change is not a priority. Luckily it is a priority for the Welsh Labour Government, which has banned fracking in Wales and is doing what it can to support renewable energy.

The sad reality is that we are not on track to meet the ambitious but necessary targets set out in the Climate Change Act 2008, which, as a life-long environmental campaigner, it was an honour to work on as part of the last Labour Government. We must once again treat this issue with the seriousness and urgency it deserves, and invest in the green technology, infrastructure and jobs of the future.