Investment is needed to develop our green economy - Chichester Observer

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. Up and down the country young people, in particular, have been calling for change.

Chichester District Council have listened. Their Cabinet recently announced a climate emergency and are looking into employing a Climate Emergency Officer to spearhead their carbon reduction work. They are also implementing a Climate Change Emergency Action Plan that will aim to deliver measurable carbon reduction and demonstrate how local action can achieve a net-zero carbon economy.

In Parliament, we recently amended legislation to ensure the UK’s carbon emissions are net-zero by 2050, making us the first G7 nation to make such a commitment in law. I emphasised why we need this change in a recent climate change debate; ecosystems are being destroyed through deforestation and coral bleaching which is leading to a huge loss of species. Along with our relentless production of CO2.

To change our current trajectory more needs to be done to develop the green economy, by investing in technological development, incentive schemes, and green infrastructure. Since 2010, we have deployed 99% of the UK’s solar panels and we now have the world’s largest offshore wind capacity. In total, we have quadrupled our renewable output. It is not surprising that last year we produced over 37% of our energy from renewables, all whilst growing our economy.

The new targets are ambitious and we will all have to make significant changes to our lifestyles. We must ensure efficient insulation, greater use of renewables, cleaner running cars, cycling and walking more, as well as, cutting-out non-reusable goods.

Last month I visited Southbourne Junior school where I joined the children for a Q&A all about climate change covering everything from polar bears to carbon dioxide emissions and plastic waste. The school is very active in trying to improve its own environmental impact, and is now running on solar energy. Southbourne run an Eco-Warrior programme where the children can take part in single-use plastic free days and they regularly do litter picks to keep the school tidy. They even suggested re-using wrapping paper from their birthday parties. 

It won't be easy to reverse the damage done to our planet but just ask the younger generation - it is necessary.

Just a reminder, I am holding my next open meeting on the 26th July at the Selsey Centre from 7pm to 9pm, I hope to see you there.