Yesterday marked an entire year that the world’s average warming exceeded 1.5C – deemed by most scientists as the safe limit to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown on people, nature and the economy.
But yesterday was also the day that the UK Labour party dropped its flagship pledge to spend £28 billion on green investment if they came into government, sending a deeply worrying signal that the party is scaling back its environmental ambitions.
These two events come in stark contrast to each other. The solutions to the escalating climate and biodiversity emergencies are increasingly proven, popular and crying out for investment, yet Labour’s announcement goes completely against the grain of public opinion, and the stark economic reality of inaction. While Labour have claimed that none of their flagship schemes have been dropped, the signal that the party is scaling back its green ambitions is deeply concerning.
It’s not just green energy that needs support. As the climate emergency continues to escalate across the world, solutions like restoring wildlife-rich wetland habitats have shown time and time again to soak up carbon and revive nature at tremendous rates. Nature-based solutions are also fundamental to our economic prosperity - every £1 spent on inland wetlands, for example, returns up to £9 in economic benefits.
It’s time for politicians to see the evidence in front of them – investing in the natural world, from green energy to habitat restoration, is critical for people, the climate and the economy. What is needed is a clear signal of intent from all political parties, ahead of the general election, that tackling the climate and biodiversity crises is central to their agenda.
We eagerly await the much-needed leadership in this space, and stand ready to work across the government, private sector and civil society to scale-up the solutions required to meet the scale of the challenge ahead.