I have long been a campaigner for environmental justice. During the 1980s when the nuclear industry wanted to store some of its waste at Elstow Storage Depot, I joined Bedfordshire Against Nuclear Dumping (BAND) to oppose this proposal. As your MP, I sat on the Environment Select Committee which oversaw Britain’s environment policies, including the Labour government’s landmark Climate Change Bill.
In spite of the issue’s inescapable importance, many people — including some politicians — shy away from confronting climate change. A problem on a global scale, it easy to think that the task is simply too big to tackle.
Of course, the evidence is overwhelming: climate change is well under way, and I believe that we do not have the luxury to be complacent. That is why I took a strong position at the time of the Copenhagen Agreement for international action, doing my part to raise local awareness by participating in public meetings in Bedford with environmental leaders.
The speed and extent of climate change today is indisputably linked to human activity. This fact provides us with both an opportunity to reflect soberly on the past costs of modern progress, as well as hope that we can use modern innovations and ingenuity to create an environmentally sustainable future.
I want Britain to be at the forefront of the fight against climate change and for environmental justice. We must build a new, greener economy based on the best of science and innovation that makes us a world leader.
Cutting our standard of living to the days before the Industrial Revolution is neither practical nor morally justifiable. But, we must all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint — saving us both energy and money. That is why I was proud the Labour government made it easier — and cost-effective — local families to take steps toward greener living.
It is obvious that climate change is a global phenomenon requiring international action. Britain must play its part and, by doing, so will be in a stronger position to argue that other countries must do more. Our collective future depends upon it.