It won’t be easy but let’s go Net Zero

Gloucestershire Echo - - LETTERS & OPINION - Alex Chalk Conservati­ve MP for Chel­tenham

IT’S on its way! On Tues­day I pre­sented my Bill which would cre­ate a le­gal obli­ga­tion, the first for any G20 coun­try, for the UK to reach Net Zero car­bon emis­sions by the year 2050.

This Bill was drafted be­fore the Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion protests.

And while some hot­heads in those demon­stra­tions clearly went too far, this is ev­i­dently an is­sue which res­onates across the gen­er­a­tions – but par­tic­u­larly among young peo­ple who will live for long­est with the con­se­quences.

Last week I met Bal­car­ras stu­dents who clearly share that con­cern.

They have set up Sus­tain – a Young En­ter­prise team pro­mot­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion, and their vi­sion and en­ergy led them to win the Glouces­ter­shire County Fi­nals.

They’re right to be trou­bled about cli­mate change. Although the UK is cur­rently on course for an 80 per cent re­duc­tion (the best per­for­mance by any G7 coun­try by the way) the science is clear: if we con­tinue to pump even that re­main­ing 20 per cent of green­house gases into the at­mos­phere, cli­mate change will ac­cel­er­ate.

I said in Par­lia­ment, we in the UK need to play our part in stop­ping the ru­n­away train of cli­mate change.

That doesn’t mean we should start some sort of ir­ra­tional uni­lat­eral eco­nomic dis­ar­ma­ment.

That would cause hard­ship and it’s un­nec­es­sary.

In­stead, as lead­ing ex­perts in­clud­ing Lord Adair Turner now agree, Net Zero cre­ates the op­por­tu­nity for a project of na­tional eco­nomic re­newal.

Bri­tish in­ge­nu­ity has placed the UK at the cut­ting edge of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in science and en­gi­neer­ing.

We can har­ness and per­fect this tech­nol­ogy.

And then we can sell it to the rest of the world.

Net Zero won’t be easy. But there is a great prize – a healthy planet teem­ing with bio­di­ver­sity and hold­ing back cli­mate change; and a coun­try and an econ­omy at the cut­ting edge of sci­en­tific and man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Let’s go for Net Zero.

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