We are in a climate emergency. Our oceans are acidifying, the Amazon is burning, Greenland is melting. The clock is ticking, and business as usual is no longer acceptable.
The incoming government needs to step up to the scale of the problem facing us. We are concerned that they aren’t yet sufficiently engaged.
When we ranked the parties on their manifesto plans for climate and nature, the Conservatives came second from last, with a measly score of 15 out of a possible 40. Their manifesto was full of loopholes and half-baked policies, failing to grasp the fact that the climate and nature emergency requires radical transformation and government investment across every single sector of the economy.
This perhaps also explains why, when Channel 4 held a leaders’ debate on the climate emergency, initiated by a coalition of organisations including Greenpeace UK, the prime minister felt that he had more important things to do. As the ice sculpture that stood in his place slowly melted, his absence spoke volumes.
Particularly worrying is an ignorance of the idea of climate justice. We must recognise that the UK has a historic responsibility to the global south for its massively disproportionate contributions to carbon emissions. Human and environmental rights protections should be embedded in all future trade deals, and transitioning the UK economy away from fossil fuels requires a fair plan for the people and communities whose industries or jobs will have to change.
This will be a huge and enormously exciting year for the global climate justice movement. The new government will know there is no hiding place from the eyes of civil society and the world more broadly.
COP26 – the international meeting of governments to decide how they will tackle the climate crisis – is being held in Glasgow. This will be an extraordinary opportunity to hold those in power to account on the global stage, including the new government, and as Greenpeace we promise to do everything we can to do just that.
We know that people power works. The positive changes that we have seen in recent times – such as putting a commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions into law, and promising to quadruple the amount of offshore wind by 2030 – all came about thanks to people like you taking to the streets and making your voice heard.
This new government needs to do much more and they need to do it now. If you would like to join this movement there are so many things you can do, from signing one of our petitions, to donating to power our campaigns, to directly challenging your local MP to put our planet first by becoming a member of our political lobbying network.
We will not accept complacency while our house is on fire, and will be pushing harder than ever for change.