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Tue, 29 September 2020

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The Green Share Bill will tackle climate change by empowering communities from the ground up

The Green Share Bill will tackle climate change by empowering communities from the ground up

The Green Share Bill could see a greater roll-out of renewable energy projects - solar, wind, retrofitting of housing stock, zero carbon homes, writes Anna McMorrin MP. | PA Images

4 min read

The Green Share Bill will unlock private investment for co-operatives and member-owned businesses to expand and deliver green, sustainable projects. It's an opportunity for the Government to show the climate leadership we’ve all been waiting for.

The world is still grappling with the Covid-19 outbreak which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and ground the global economy to a halt. Tackling the worst health crisis in over one hundred years is rightly the priority of global leaders, but we must not forget the deeper, graver challenge of the climate emergency still burning around us.

The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our generation. 2020 was to be the year in which we made crucial first steps towards tackling the climate emergency if we were to stand any chance of meeting our climate commitments.

Instead of action, we’ve seen empty rhetoric and missed targets. Instead of climate leadership, we’ve seen abject failures and staggering hypocrisy. Put simply – we just haven’t seen the urgent, radical measures needed by UK Government to tackle the effects of climate change.

The gulf between action and empty words is widening daily, and with it the window of opportunity to make any meaningful difference to our planet is shrinking. Experts are united in their view that the only way to future-proof both our economy and the climate, is to prioritise a green recovery from this pandemic.

Emerging from this health crisis we have a real chance to create a more just, sustainable society which puts the happiness of people and planet first.

My Green Share Bill rises to that challenge.

My Private Members Bill- the Green Share Bill has its second reading in Parliament today. It unlocks private investment for co-operatives and member-owned businesses to expand and deliver green, sustainable projects for the benefit of our communities and to help tackle climate change.

Sustainability and climate action must be at the heart of what comes next

Co-operatives are already leading the way in sustainable business and green projects, but current financial restrictions are hindering their innovation and expansion. The Green Share Bill removes those barriers, places a duty on sustainability and could see a greater roll-out of renewable energy projects- solar, wind, retrofitting of housing stock, zero carbon homes – all which create green jobs and skills, generate cheaper, cleaner energy and crucially, which are all integral to meet our climate obligations without finding themselves on government spreadsheets.

Take Egni Cooperative as an example. Egni Co-op was the first Solar PV Co-operative in Wales and are now undertaking the biggest rollout of rooftop solar in Welsh history. They have solar sites across the country in community centres, village halls, schools and have completed the largest rooftop solar installation in Wales on the Geraint Thomas National Velodrome in Newport. Their solar installations help communities reduce their carbon footprint whilst saving money on their bills.

The potential that could be unleashed for co-operatives if they received private, green finance would be huge and the community benefits are sorely needed.

If we are to tackle climate change, we must empower our communities to do their part from the ground up and make laws to enable them to rise to the challenge too. Top-down approaches from UK Government alone, even if they didn’t fall woefully short of the radical action that’s needed, is not enough.

As we look to our Covid rebuild and the fight against runaway climate change; innovative, sustainable projects for our local communities must be at its very heart. My Green Share Bill facilitates that and helps create a more sustainable living environment for all.

It’s abundantly clear that we cannot rebuild from Covid in the image of how things were before the crisis. The devastating wildfires, flooding and extreme weather conditions are a stark reminder of that.

Covid-19 presents a significant fork in the road for UK Government – do we continue on a path of limited decarbonisation, missed targets and missed opportunities to future-proof environmental legislation? Or do we use this opportunity to take a bold approach to rebuilding a more sustainable and resilient world which transitions away from a fossil fuel driven economy and embraces serious measures to tackling the climate crisis at all levels.

Time is running out and future governments won’t be able to do what governments can do now.

The second reading of my Green Share Bill is an opportunity for the UK government to match deeds with words and show the climate leadership we’ve all been waiting for.

Sustainability and climate action must be at the heart of what comes next.

 

Anna McMorrin is the Labour MP for for Cardiff North and shadow minister for international development. 

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Connecting Communities

Connecting Communities is an initiative aimed at empowering and strengthening community ties across the UK. Launched in partnership with The National Lottery, it aims to promote dialogue and support Parliamentarians working to nurture a more connected society.

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