MPs debate climate change for the first time in two years – Mel Evans

Today is the first debate in Parliament on climate change for two years, and haven’t we got lovely weather for it?

Hundreds of young people take part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate Change in Glasgow's George Square (Picture: John Devlin)
Hundreds of young people take part in the Youth Strike 4 Climate Change in Glasgow's George Square (Picture: John Devlin)

The UK’s winter temperature record has been broken three times this week, Australia is starting to question whether they really meant it when they said they love a sunburnt country, and Alaska, whilst still not what you’d call ‘hot’, has seen temperatures 28C above average for the time of year.

This doesn’t feel normal – and we should see this as an alarm bell, telling us that right now we are in a climate emergency. Heatwaves and floods warn us of the risk of crop failures to come.

We could either see the worst of these impacts, or we can be bold, turn the ship around and save ourselves and future generations.

But, as the last two years have shown, our politicians are barely talking about it, all whilst corporate leaders continue with business as usual.

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'˜We are last generation who can stop dangerous climate change'

Our politicians should be calling an end to business as usual. In the background of the climate debate, there have always been voices saying that stopping climate change is too expensive.

But the situation we find ourselves in is a lot like when the NHS was created. Like then, we need politicians to be visionary and to grasp both the challenge and the opportunity.

We need an NHS for the climate emergency, to radically transform the infrastructure of our entire lives with free public transport for healthy air, green jobs as part of a green industrial revolution, and protections for farming and agriculture to save the very soil we depend on.

The reality is if we take the action we need to tackle our climate emergency we will create the cleaner, smarter, fairer society we all deserve.

The technology is ready, but moving big vested interests out of the way will take political leadership that recognises the urgency.

Scientists agree, the climate emergency is already here, the school strikes show our children recognise it and are begging us to do something, but political leadership is, well, visible once in two years.

This biennial debate should be a badge of shame for our politicians, and a wake-up call for parents and everyone who cares about our planet’s future.

Our leaders aren’t leading us anywhere we might want to go. Make them do better.

Mel Evans is a climate campaigner at Greenpeace UK