The path to destruction of our planet is not inevitable - stop this juggernaut

What do local MPs Clive Betts and Olivia Blake have in common with Caroline Lucas of the Green Party, Sir Ed Davey from the Lib Dems, Clive Lewis from Labour, Alan Brown of the SNP and Liz Saville Roberts of Plaid Cymru?

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 6:00 am
Local campaigners with the banner taken at Steelhenge in Centenary Riverside wildlife park.

They are all supporting the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, which I believe is the most important bill to be discussed in my lifetime. Why? It is simply about taking the action we need to survive on this planet.

The bill expresses profound alarm at the climate and ecological emergency, with wildfires raging in California, and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica melting in line with worst-case scenario predictions for sea-level rise. Another report last week found that the Amazon rainforest has now been so badly damaged that it is a net emitter of carbon dioxide, rather than a carbon sink.

The bill acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.”

It is concerned that the current target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 in the 2008 Climate Change Act has been overtaken by the accelerating crisis.

If passed the bill would ensure that the UK plays its fair and proper role in limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C, by taking account of the UK's entire carbon footprint, including consumption emissions released overseas as a result of goods manufactured abroad for use in the UK. At present, we import many goods from China and other countries, but we then blame China for the high emissions they have released manufacturing our goods!

The bill would actively improve the natural world by protecting and restoring the UK's ecosystems, and ending the damage to nature caused by supply chains. Nature is currently under attack from all sides. Many species are declining at an extraordinary rate. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment estimates that a staggering one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction due to human action.

Insects pollinate many of our crops, help fertilise the soil they grow in and help control outbreaks of crop pests and other organisms that cause disease in people and livestock. Insects are also important in decomposing and recycling dead organic matter and are critical parts of food webs in all ecosystems.

At least 75 per cent of global food crop types depend, at least to some extent, on pollinators. In fact, 70 of the 100 most important human food crops are pollinated by insects.

Several studies have suggested that the numbers of insects are declining dramatically. A 27-year long monitoring study across Germany revealed a dramatic 76% decline in flying insect biomass between 1989 and 2013. Worryingly, the study took place inside nature reserves. The CEE Bill would be a start to turning this dire situation around.

The bill would establish a Citizens’ Assembly to recommend measures for inclusion in a new Climate and Ecological Emergency Strategy. These two emergencies are interlinked and it is vital the Government has joined-up policies to tackle them.

The Government should support the Bill to increase the ambition of the UK's climate legislation and demonstrate real climate leadership ahead of co-hosting the 26th UN Climate Change Conference in November.

Ruth Powell, a climate crisis campaigner, said: “I desperately want my MP, Paul Blomfield, to support the CEE Bill. Things are looking very bleak for our planet and it makes me wonder if it would even be fair for me to have children if it means bringing them into a world that is in such a catastrophic state. If this bill can get through Parliament, we stand a chance of being able to improve the situation somewhat.”

The path to destruction is not inevitable. We can stop this juggernaut. We must act urgently to join together and build a safer and healthier world. We can start to do this by ensuring our MPs support the CEE Bill.

Sheffield campaigners are planning to lobby local MPs that haven’t yet signed the Early Day Motion tomorrow Friday, March 26. People can meet outside Sheffield Town Hall from 11am- 2pm where they can make a short video telling their MP why they should sign. If your MP hasn’t signed yet, please write to them or join the Twitter storm using hashtag #CEEBill. Find out more at www.ceebill.uk.