Climate change is the biggest danger facing our planet but sadly seems a very low priority on the Tories’ agenda. Yesterday they demonstrated this – twice.
Earlier in the day, the Government announced they were dropping investment in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, a project which could generate clean electricity for more than 150,000 homes.
In the House of Commons yesterday I challenged Business Secretary Greg Clark, asking why they had rejected the project based on short-term costs. He said it was not commercially viable, but this misses the point. Government investment is needed precisely because is not yet commercially viable, bringing down the cost of technology, and reducing climate change, a point I made in Parliament just last week. Most importantly, dropping this project dodges the Government’s responsibility to reduce carbon emissions.
This irresponsible attitude was evident from the other major event in Parliament yesterday, when the Government won their vote for a third runway at Heathrow.
Yesterday I voted against the Heathrow expansion as the plans did not sufficiently meet Labour’s four tests, including a commitment to meet CO2 reduction targets and minimise the impact on the local environment.
If part of a coherent climate change strategy, a new runway could result in lower CO2 emissions overall, for example reducing the time planes spend ‘in the stack’, needlessly burning fuel while circling above the airport. But this is clearly not the Government’s priority.
Both episodes demonstrate potentially catastrophic costs to the environment are being ignored, while decisions are being taken solely based on short-sighted economic reasons. I will continue to challenge the Government on this issue of global emergency.