Thu, 13 June 2024

Newsletter sign-up

Subscribe now
The House Live All
Time to break down the barriers stalling water efficient housing Partner content
Press releases

The Climate and Ecology Bill is our best chance to tackle the climate crisis


3 min read

The Climate and Ecology Bill (CE Bill) was reintroduced in the Commons on 10 May, supported by MPs from all parties. We’re proud to add our names to this urgent proposal for new legislation that is bold enough to get to grips with the environmental emergency.

The CE Bill is a joined-up plan to tackle the climate and nature crisis as one, in a fair and transparent way. If enacted, it would give us the best chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C, in accordance with our Paris Agreement commitments. It would halt and reverse nature’s decline by 2030, in line with the pledge the United Kingdom made at COP15—alongside over 190 other nations. The bill would enforce these commitments by locking them into national legislation.

Targets in the Environment Act could actually see the UK’s natural world in a worse state

Today, on World Environment Day, a youth delegation of CE Bill supporters are handing-in a United for Nature petition to 10 Downing Street, calling on the Prime Minister to adopt the bill and implement its nature target to rapidly halt and reverse its decline. The petition is championed by Mya-Rose Craig and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall—and backed by hundreds of organisations and of thousands of citizens—united in their understanding that we cannot hope to limit dangerous global heating, or protect ourselves from the worst impacts of climate change—such as flooding, drought, and food shortages—without restoring nature.

The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with less than half of its biodiversity still intact. And NGOs are warning that targets in the Environment Act could actually see the UK’s natural world in a worse state. The strength of the CE Bill is that it’s based on the creation of a legally-binding strategy, utilising a whole-of-government approach, to tackle the root causes of the crisis. We’re currently reliant upon a huge range of disjointed laws and policies which often conflict. The result is that nature is not being prioritised and communities are being let down by legislation that should be protecting them and our shared environment.

The climate and ecological emergencies don’t just pose an existential threat to our natural world – they put our health, wellbeing, and entire economic stability at enormous risk. We’ve seen over 30 years of agricultural, countryside, and environmental stewardship schemes—alongside countless conservation initiatives by NGOs, costing almost £18bn over the last 20 years—largely funded by public money. After all this time, it’s clear that a reliance on these measures by themselves have not solved this crisis – and so transformative change to our energy and food sectors is needed.

The UK food system, for example, is responsible for 35 per cent of emissions, including imports, and the majority of the destruction of nature – peatlands, wetlands, woodlands and seas. The government’s Environmental Improvement Plan admits that agriculture causes the majority of pollution to our rivers and seas—more even than sewage discharges. The drive to produce commodities for profit, over food for people, is destroying our natural world. Farmers are locked into an unfair, unsustainable market and cannot make meaningful change on their own.

As well as benefits for climate, nature and health, the benefits of creating a nature-positive future for the economy and job creation are enormous. Restoring nature, rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels and developing more localised nature-friendly food systems will generate tens of thousands of jobs and regenerate local communities. Nature is our best ally in the fight against climate change, through the creation of a comprehensive legally-binding strategy. This is the critical framework we need to see in place now to halt and reverse nature’s decline before it’s too late.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion. Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath. Olivia Blake, Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam.

PoliticsHome Newsletters

Get the inside track on what MPs and Peers are talking about. Sign up to The House's morning email for the latest insight and reaction from Parliamentarians, policy-makers and organisations.