Greens, Alliance, SDLP, Plaid Cymru and Lib Dems urge Boris Johnson to support a Bill set to reboot current climate and environmental legislation

Friday, 6 November 2020 – With a year to go until the UK hosts COP26, five political parties officially announce support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill), signalling to Boris Johnson that urgent action is essential if the UK is to deliver on its commitments in the 2015 UN Paris Climate Agreement.

The CEE Bill, which was officially published in the Commons on 2 November, offers the UK Government a viable framework for climate action based on scientific reality. Drafted by an alliance of scientists, academics, lawyers and environmentalists, it aims to ensure the UK plays its fair and proper role in limiting global heating to 1.5°C, and conserves the natural world by restoring essential ecosystems.

A temporary, emergency Citizens’ Assembly is also proposed by the Bill, in order to assist the UK Government determine which policies to include in its emergency strategy to reduce emissions and protect nature. The Assembly will help MPs to take the necessary actions, and empower ordinary people to have a real say in a just transition to a zero-carbon society, enriched by a thriving natural world.

With 77 MPs from eight political parties backing the Bill, five parties - the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Alliance and Greens - are officially supporting the proposal.

The Bill’s primary sponsor in the Commons, where it was introduced on 2 September, Caroline Lucas MP said: “As hosts of the UN climate conference next year, the UK Government has a critical opportunity to show the climate leadership it boasts of, and to deliver a serious plan to tackle both the climate and nature emergencies. The CEE Bill is the roadmap to do this. I’m delighted it has growing cross-party support and I urge all MPs who recognise the urgency of the climate crisis, and the need to make those far-reaching and unprecedented changes in our society, to get behind this initiative so this vital Bill becomes law.”

Ed Davey, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Covid-19 has shown how quickly the world can change and the terrible price for not taking actions quickly and seriously can have. The failure to cut emissions means we are now facing a climate emergency. Urgent action is essential, and the UK should be leading the way in this fight. But Boris Johnson’s Government has utterly failed to put forward proposals that will deliver the green economic recovery and thousands of green jobs we so desperately need. The Conservatives clearly lack the appetite to act when it comes to tackling the climate emergency. The Liberal Democrats are proud to back the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill. The Tories need to wake up to reality and back this Bill to show real global leadership ahead of the critical COP26 talks this time next year.”

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, and Bill co-sponsor, Liz Saville Roberts MP said: “Climate change is the most serious issue facing the planet. No-one is immune to its threat - and it is sadly future generations that will face the worst of its consequences. Plaid Cymru is proud to support the CEE Bill, which is a golden opportunity to help fix our climate and restore our natural world. It is incumbent on the Westminster Government to put the Bill into law as soon as possible ahead of COP26. I therefore call on the Prime Minister to urgently work cross-party towards that goal. We need more than talk. We need action.”

Colum Eastwood MP, Leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party, said: “The SDLP is proud to be supporting the CEE Bill with parties across the political spectrum. We need to set aside our differences and work together in our substantial common interests to create a legal framework that will compel governments across these islands to work together to limit global heating to 1.5°C and restore our rich biodiverse environments. This is the battle of our lifetime.”

Stephen Farry MP, Deputy Leader of Alliance and Bill co-sponsor, said: “The climate emergency remains the ultimate crisis we face, and is why Alliance is backing the CEE Bill, which sets out a viable pathway for the UK to reduce emissions and restore nature. The UK needs a radical step change in how it approaches the climate emergency, and I call on the Prime Minister to ensure that the CEE Bill passes as soon as possible; and before COP26 next November.”

To celebrate the Bill’s publication in the year until COP26, Caroline Lucas MP, ecological economist Prof. Tim Jackson, former Greenpeace International director Kumi Naidoo, and economist Prof. Kate Raworth will join a virtual panel discussion hosted by the CEE Bill Alliance and chaired by Baroness Boycott at 18:00, 9 November (ceebill.uk/event-a-year-until-cop26).

Commenting, one of 77 supporting MPs, the SNP Deputy Leader in Westminster, Kirsten Oswald MP said: “COP26 is an opportunity to showcase the potential for Scotland to use its ingenuity and wealth of natural resources to build a more sustainable, resilient and fairer country. The Prime Minister must ensure that the CEE Bill becomes law, and that the UK Government backs efforts to deliver the target of net-zero emissions for Scotland by 2045.”

Labour’s Nadia Whittome MP, co-sponsor of the Bill, said: “This is a crisis of a system and of a government that has failed to grasp the scale and urgency of the crisis we face. The path we are on is terrifying, and the science is clear that we need radical action on a huge scale to avert the looming catastrophe. The Government must act not towards economic “recovery” - but for a just, green transformation; the system change we need.”

Jim Shannon MP, the Democratic Unionist Party spokesperson for human rights, said: “The CEE Bill is a golden opportunity to fix our climate and restore our natural world. I will do all I can to help enact the Bill before COP26. The Bill offers the Government a viable route to tackle the environmental crisis, and I call on the Prime Minister to ensure it passes into law as soon as possible.”