In just under seven weeks we will meet in Liverpool for the results of the Labour Leadership Election and Party Conference. So far in this campaign the challenges of climate change and the need for a strong and progressive set of environment policies has not been given sufficient prominence, indeed it wasn’t mentioned at all at the last hustings. It is time to change that.
We’ve produced the following questions to ask Owen and Jeremy, will you join us and ask them too?
1. Ambition: What do you think are the key environmental challenges ahead?
2. Challenging the Government: The government is not on track to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, will need to fulfil commitments agreed at Paris and agree new commitments flowing from COP21 in the next two to three years. How will you and your team hold the government to account and encourage them to pursue a stronger environmental agenda?
3. Brexit: There is a huge threat to environmental laws, protections and enforcement due to Brexit? How will you work with NGOs, SERA and across parties to get the best deal post-Brexit for the environment and challenge vested interests seeking to water down commitments?
4. Devolution: There is an important role and agency for the nations, combined authorities, Mayors and local authorities in driving strong environmental agendas. How will you work, support and further empower sub-national organisations in tackling climate change and securing ambitious environmental policies?
5. Mainstreaming: How will you mainstream progressive environmental policy, not just promoting ‘green’ policies like increasing recycling or biodiversity but across all areas of policy: housing (low carbon homes), economic development and growth (green jobs, skills and businesses), transport, procurement, and energy.
6. Just Transition: What is your commitment to ensuring people aren’t left behind in the move to a low carbon society, such as connecting environment programmes to former industrial areas (green jobs), promoting co-operative energy to give people a stake; and challenging climate change skepticism?
7. Inspire Members: How will you promote a strong environmental agenda within the Party and work with SERA to inspire members, activists and organisations? Also SERA runs a number of campaigns. SERA is currently campaigning on air quality and supporting a call for a new Clean Air Act. Will you support A Breath of Fresh Air and join a growing number of Labour MPs, MEPs, AMs and councillors demanding action?
At SERA we believe Labour must challenge the government on its environmental failings and that our party campaigns on an ambitious and progressive environmental agenda which can inspire voters and help us win elections. This is an agenda across policy areas including the opportunities for green jobs, improving the standard of living with access to clean air and green spaces, low carbon housing, more and cheaper renewable energy, and improved public transport.
We have sent these questions to the leadership candidates, and encourage you to challenge them on progressive environmentalism too.