At Zero Carbon Harrogate we were extremely perturbed with the Prime Minister’s recent u-turn on a number of climate targets designed to aid the transition to net zero. The science is clear; emissions cuts made this decade are the ones that will count the most and steer us away from the more catastrophic risks associated with global heating. Here in Yorkshire, we face very real and urgent pressures as a result of climate change; increased food costs, danger to public health, risk of flooding, higher insurance premiums, immigration – to name a few.
Professor Piers Forster, Chair of the Government’s independent Climate Change Committee and Zero Carbon Harrogate’s Patron, has also expressed his concerns. He said, “Recent policy announcements were not accompanied by estimates of their effect on future emissions, nor evidence to back the Government’s assurance that the UK’s targets will still be met.”
Now is not the time to be watering down targets and pushing back deadlines. Aside from the environmental factors, which frankly should be reason enough, there are huge local economic gains to be had.
Our government should be championing innovation and promoting the UK’s ability to be global leaders in green technology. And of course, by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we’re all protected from the volatility in world energy markets.
We wrote to Harrogate MP Andrew Jones to express our concerns and we were pleased to receive a detailed response. This however, offered no reassurance as Mr Jones appears to fully support Mr Sunak’s change in climate policies.
We do agree with him on the importance of international cooperation. However, we are sceptical about Mr Jones’ suggestion that other countries should follow the UK’s lead. These recent policy changes will only stifle innovation and slow progress and have sent a very clear signal that the UK is no longer a credible climate leader.
We urge other residents in the Harrogate area who are as concerned as we are about these latest policy changes to write to their MP; together we can make a difference.
Zero Carbon Harrogate