XR York rebel Emma Peute introduces the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill and explains why we should be getting behind it.

Dearest concerned citizens of the UK,

Our government has made promises. These promises are not only weak, they’re dreams and impossibilities, and they’re far from enough. We can and MUST do better.

The UK has made commitments to tackle and – preferably – prevent the future climate crisis. On 4th December the Prime Minister announced ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit the UK’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 with a ten-point plan. This plan, the Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, is genuinely ambitious, including such proposals as “advancing offshore wind”, “green public transport, cycling and walking”, and “accelerating the shift to zero emission vehicles”, with a budget of £12bln. It’s ambitious, but it’s still not enough. If we don’t want to exceed a global temperature rise of 1.5C, implementing this plan by 2050 will be too little, too late. 

On 2nd September, the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill was tabled in Parliament. It currently has the support of 85 MPs from a number of political parties. On 12th March, the bill will get a second reading and a debate. The CEE Bill not only acknowledges that 2050 is too late, it also states that the British Government should play a fair and proper role limiting the rise of global temperatures, with the help and guidance of a citizen’s assembly. It is a brand new initiative starting on its path as a grassroots campaign, having been developed with members of XR alongside members of the successful Big Ask campaign that led to the Climate Change Act in 2008.  

The CEE bill enshrines in law the “Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities” (CBDR-RC) Principle, taking into account the historical responsibility developed nations have in the problem of climate change. As such, the UK would be leading the charge in a just and fair tackling of climate change under international law. The CEE Bill calls for 7 major changes: 

  1. Global Fairness, taking accountability by implementing the CBDR-RC Principle;
  2. Taking into account the country’s full CO2 footprint, including both territorial emissions and emissions from UK international travel;
  3. Through Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) calling for active management of these natural systems, such as soil, forests, and peat bogs, to optimise their carbon dioxide uptake and maintain their equilibrium;
  4. By recognising the speculative nature of Negative Emission Technologies (NETs), the use of NETs in the Bill is strictly to be circumscribed to sectors where emissions cannot be completely eliminated by direct emissions cuts and the capacity of natural carbon sinks, prioritising proven mechanisms; 
  5. Restoring the variety, abundance and health of the UK’s biodiversity and its ecosystems, both natural and human-modified, enhancing the ecosystems they uphold;
  6. Introducing alternative, ecologically-sustainable and socially-ethical supply chains, so as to hold accountable those companies and individuals whose commercial activities come under the jurisdiction of UK law, for the mitigation and remediation of any ecologically harmful supply system;
  7. Utilising a Citizen’s Assembly for a just transition, empowering MPs to take bold decisions and allowing people to have a real say in the pathway of not only a fair and just transition to a zero carbon society but of one leading to a thriving natural world.

The CEE Bill brings to Parliament the necessary changes and strategies to properly tackle the problems at hand, before it is too late. This bill would force the government’s hand, it would show that citizens are deeply concerned with the reality of the problem and wish to tackle it sooner rather than later, getting down to do what must be done. Now. 

The more MPs back the Bill, the more pressure grows on government to allow it to be done justice and get one step closer to becoming law. Please act now and lobby your local MP in writing and through social media.

Find out more:

Support the CEE Bill:

The CEE Bill will also be the focus of upcoming action here in York, so come along to one of our meetings to get involved.

Love and rage,

XR York

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