2019 has been the year of the climate emergency. In June I had the pleasure of meeting some of my constituents and discuss their concerns when they came to Westminster to participate in a mass lobby on climate change outside Parliament.
Young people are taking to the streets to fight for their future and groups such as Extinction Rebellion are rightly bringing this debate to the forefront of political life.
I share their concerns which is why I am shocked that, despite a summer of wildfires, the Government is still sitting on their hands when it comes to climate change.
A fire the size of Barcelona has gripped the island of Gran Canaria. But it is a damning state of affairs when this is not the worst wildfire our planet is suffering.
The Amazon rainforest is nothing short of the earth’s lungs – and it’s burning at a rate that should terrify us all. The hard-right Brazilian government, led by Jair Bolsonaro, has been complicit in these fires – pursuing reckless, unsustainable and extractive economic policies which treat the Amazon as a source of profit. This ancient and complex ecosystem is being burned and cleared, and its indigenous inhabitants being driven out to make way for grazing land.
This is recklessness of the highest order, and in my view, a crime against us all.
Despite world leaders expressing concern over the Amazon fires at the G7 summit, only $20m in aid was offered between them – less than a football club often would pay for a Premier League player. Moreover, Bolsonaro is likely to reject this aid entirely.
I’m disappointed that the Prime Minister is not showing real leadership on this issue or being vocal in criticising Bolsonaro’s war against the environment. So far, our government have refused to stop British businesses from aiding the Brazilian government’s destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
The Prime Minister’s actions (or lack of) shows a distinct lack of courage and is exemplary of the wider attitude of this government: all bluster, no backbone.
Our country and our world deserve better than Bolsonaro and his ilk – and their complicity in the destruction of our planet. Future generations will not forgive the callous disregard for our planet and environment as the climate emergency continues to wreak havoc.
We must be bold and willing to make the changes necessary to ensure the health of the planet. It is the Labour Party who are bringing the debate about a Green New Deal to the forefront, as we are serious and ambitious in tackling the climate emergency. We must condemn figures like Bolsonaro without fear and be visible and vocal on the international stage in fighting back against the destruction of the Amazon.
It’s vital that we take action at home as well by initiating large scale investment in renewables, phasing out fossil fuels and sowing the seeds for a green industrial revolution that will create jobs up and down the country.
Our bold vision to tackle the climate emergency is needed urgently.
In my view, nothing less will suffice.