‘An existential danger’: Welsh politicians react to climate change report branded ‘code red for humanity’
Welsh politicians have called for more to be done by both Welsh and UK governments to tackle climate change as the UN published a report branded “code red for humanity”.
The report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that a 1.5C rise in global temperatures was likely whatever efforts were now made to cut carbon emissions, leading to extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding.
Some of the changes are now inevitable and “irreversible,” the report concludes, with only apid and drastic reductions in greenhouse gases within the current decade able to prevent devastating climate breakdown.
The Welsh Government’s deputy minister for climate change said that they would “take firm action” that is “not always popular but it necessary to protect people”.
“We need the courage to keep to that approach on climate,” he said in response to the report. “The science is clear.”
However, both Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Conservative called on the Welsh Government to do more to stop climate change, with the former calling it “an existential danger” for humanity.
Plaid’s Climate Change spokesperson, Delyth Jewell MS called on the Welsh Government to ban fracking, increase investment in retrofitting housing, disinvest in fossil fuels and introduce a Clean Air Act.
“These are all things that the current Welsh Government can do to ensure Wales plays its part in the global fight against irreversible climate change,” she said.
“We have declared both a climate and a nature emergency to mobilise action, we are ready to help those affected as a nation of sanctuary and we have a legal responsibility to future generations and sustainable development.”
Welsh Conservative MS Janet Finch-Saunders MS said they had to either act now “or face a devastating climate catastrophe”.
“The Welsh Labour Government declared a ‘climate change emergency’ two years ago, but we’re yet to see real, forceful action on climate change,” she said.
“It will require global leadership and action both at home and abroad, and for our part in Wales, Labour ministers must get on with taking serious decisions that matches the severity of the situation we face.”
Plaid Cymru and the UK Labour party however also called for the UK Government to take more radical action, particular as it hosts the COP26 climate conference in October.
“No more delayed plans, no more hypocrisy, and no more political manoeuvres on the actions needed to address this challenge,” Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts said.
“COP26 must succeed and I urge the Government to give the COP26 President every diplomatic lever at the UK’s disposal to achieve global action.”
UK Labour leader Keir Starmer meanwhile declared that the “biggest threat we now face is not climate denial but climate delay”.
Those who, like our Prime Minister, acknowledge there is a problem, but simply don’t have the scale of ambition required to match the moment.
“Our communities and planet can no longer afford the inaction of this government, who are failing to treat the crisis with the seriousness it deserves.
“A Labour government would deliver the action we need to drive down emissions, with progressive solutions for our citizens, and leadership on the international stage to ensure a global effort to tackle the climate and nature crisis and limit global heating to 1.5 degrees.”
António Guterres, the UN secretary general, warned that the report “is a code red for humanity”.
“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” he said.
“This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”