Climate change is something we all need to be concerned with. I often speak to people on the doorstep about this issue, worried about what kind of planet we are going to leave for the next generation.
And you are right to be concerned. Scientists recently gave their clearest warning yet of what could happen. They warned of:
Drought: In some parts of Britain summer rainwater could drop by a quarter.
Floods: Winter rains and snow could increase by almost a third. Flooding from heavier rainstorms would take its toll on businesses and homes.
Heatwaves: In 2003, an increase in average temperature of just two degrees led to 35,000 extra deaths across Europe.
If we do act we could have a more stable climate and new jobs in Britain.
Acting on climate change means jobs in construction as we embark on a Great British refurb of our homes, to cut down on wasted energy. It means jobs in manufacturing as we lead new low-carbon industries, like electric cars. It means a new future for places like the North Sea, which could start to store the CO2 from our power stations and heavy industry.
So here is the challenge for Britain. We need to show the way to a low-carbon future, but we also need to get all countries signed up to acting as well. We can help tip the balance by our own actions and by persuading other countries to join a global deal at the UN meeting in Copenhagen, this December.
At the end of June the Labour Government published “The Road to Copenhagen”, Britain’s pitch for what the deal should include. That will contain the details, but we’ve already made clear that at the UN meeting in Copenhagen this December, we will be on the side arguing for ambitious action.
We’ll be arguing for a deal that every country signs up to – there can be no carbon buck-passing.
And we’ll be arguing that the world’s release of heat-trapping gasses needs to stop growing in the next decade and start shrinking – with support for the poorest countries to make sure they can do their bit.
This is the first time we’ve ever published our position in advance of global climate talks, but I believe it’s right. This meeting is make-or-break for all of us, and every British citizen should be able to know what their government is arguing for. Instead of it being treated like a government secret, it will be sent to schools, libraries, citizens advice centres and other places across Crewe and Nantwich.
We can get the deal. If people across the world call on governments to act, if we carry on saving carbon at home, we can stop dangerous climate change. We can make a difference, and know that we’ll be able to look our kids in the eye because we stood up for their future.
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