Derek is pushing nature and the environment to the top of the Westminster agenda – asking the Government to sign up to the Nature and Climate Declaration.
The Nature and Climate Declaration has been drawn up, with the assistance of campaigning group Zero Hour, to promote urgent cross-party action on the climate and nature crisis, and to call on the Government to strengthen its climate and nature ambitions to become a world leader at COP27 and the UN biodiversity summit COP15.
The Declaration’s key demands are for the Government to
- Fulfil our fair share of emissions reductions to ensure that the average global temperature increase will not exceed 1.5°C
- Halt and reverse biodiversity decline by 2030, and
- Deliver a more ambitious and integrated environmental protection and decarbonisation plan.
Derek helped launch the Nature and Climate Declaration last week, along with politicians from all parties and nations of the United Kingdom.
Today Derek introduced a debate in Westminster Hall to raise awareness of the declaration and to push the Government to go further and faster to empower and enable the shift towards net zero.
In his speech Derek said:
“We get too hung up on what we mean by net-zero by 2050 and don’t talk nearly enough about the positive benefits of
• improving our homes,
• creating skills to do this work and skills in farming and clean energy.
• We don’t talk enough about how important farms are for food production that enhances nature and captures carbon.
• We don’t talk nearly enough about how energy can be secure and affordable if we use the natural resource such as heat underground, the sun, wind and tide to generate it!”
Derek’s speech demanded action on nature and climate, with a focus on food and energy as these are his constituents’ biggest concerns. He highlighted the work of Cornish farms in farming with nature, boosting food production and reducing reliance on imports at the same time as rebuilding biodiversity and creating space for nature at scale. He demanded changes to Contracts for Difference – the government’s auctions for energy – to support renewable energy technologies such as geothermal and floating offshore wind, where Cornish companies are leading the way.
Derek concluded by asking the government to support the Nature and Climate Declaration:
“The Government has nothing to fear from this declaration. Our communities are ahead of us in many ways. Take for example Penzance Town Council, who recently committed to the future generations pledge, ensuring that every decision that is made at every level passes the good ancestor test: How does this decision benefit our children’s children and make their lives at least as good as our own?”
He also queried why Government has missed its own deadlines for setting environmental targets under the Environment Act 2021, and asked for Defra and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to work more closely together on environmental protection and decarbonisation.
In response, the Environment Minister Trudy Harrison called Derek “an outstanding champion for his constituency on climate and biodiversity” and promised integrated action on climate and biodiversity.
“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing this country, and it needs to stay at the top of the political agenda.
“By showing that this issue unites politicians of all parties, we are increasing the pressure on the Government to act on its commitments in the Net Zero Strategy and become even more ambitious in support of the environment.”
The full speech is available below: