After receiving a dressing down over their lack of action on climate change from Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg last week, it seems some UK politicians are now trying to do something.
The cross-party group of politicians announced on Tuesday that they are taking part in a commission run by a think tank to shape ideas for a “Green New Deal” for the UK.
The idea of a Green New Deal is borrowed from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 29-year-old US congresswoman making proposals for social investment to promote a greener economy.
The three UK politicians behind the call for a Green New Deal are Ed Miliband, former Labour leader and MP for Doncaster North; Laura Sandys, a Conservative MP for South Thanet; and Caroline Lucas, the MP for Brighton Pavilion and former Green Party leader.
They will be joining the Institute for Public Policy Research’s Environmental Justice Commission, which will look into ways the UK can embed action against climate change into social justice programmes.
Miliband, Sandys, and Lucas said the task needs an “unprecedented mobilisation and deployment of resources to tackle the accelerating climate crisis and transform our economy,” in a piece they wrote for the Guardian.
'Unless we tackle #climatechange we will be seen by future generations as the people who failed. Not only must we do this, we can do this' - @Ed_Miliband speaking about the launch of the IPPR Environmental Justice Commission on #r4todayhttps://t.co/HQBJqW2QIw— IPPR (@IPPR) April 30, 2019
Pleased to meet inspiring @GretaThunberg this morning with @CarolineLucas@LaylaMoran and Mr Speaker. Her message that politics isn’t doing nearly enough is right and we all need to step up. pic.twitter.com/jim3w7IgnU— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) April 23, 2019
They referenced the renewed attention to climate change brought about by 16-year-old Thunberg’s high-profile visit to the UK this month, and the two-week long national climate protests by Extinction Rebellion, saying that campaigners had given people "a sense of hope".
“An increasing number of people, young and old, see that the way we run our economy is damaging our climate, our environment, and our society … but that, crucially, it is within our power to change it for the better," they wrote in the article.
Last week, however, Thunberg described the UK’s continued promotion of fossil fuels as “beyond absurd”. And on Sunday and Monday, Scotland and Wales declared a "climate emergency". So, what do these politicians have in mind that will really make a difference?
They proposed mobilising “a carbon army” to insulate homes, switch to sustainable transport and zero-carbon vehicles, and end opposition to onshore wind power to boost the UK’s renewable manufacturing sector.
These actions haven't happened yet and it could just be warm words, but these politicians are working together — and the spotlight on climate change over the past few weeks is forcing authorities to listen to the public's demand for action.