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Assembly ‘lacks political will’ on climate change

Green accusation: Assembly lacks political will on climate issues.

WELSH ASSEMBLY Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant, has this week explained what the Assembly is doing in respect of climate change issues.

Speaking at the Senedd he said: “With a challenge as serious as climate change, and an opportunity as great as green growth, I believe there is a fundamental need for transparency. People in Wales should not only have the right to know how their government and its departments are delivering, but also how their local areas and their wider public services are delivering. Our aim is to set out a clear pathway within the context of our existing UK and EU obligations for at least an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.

“A clear pathway for decarbonisation will not only provide transparency but also certainty and clarity for investment. I will ensure that we reduce emissions in a way that not only delivers on our obligations but maximises the economic and social benefits to Wales of doing so. The UK Climate Change Committee have estimated the benefit for the UK economy of taking early action on climate change as between £100 and £200 billion by 2030. We are working to deliver further emissions reductions to add to the 27% we have already achieved and I will be funding Natural Resources Wales to calculate their net carbon impact and develop a plan to become net carbon positive in the future.”

He finished by stating: “In the run up to the Paris negotiations (to reach global agreement on climate change), we have a very real opportunity to demonstrate leadership built on our action at home and abroad.”

Responding to this, was Anne Meikle, head of WWF Cymru, who said: “It’s good to see the Minister taking steps to strengthen the Welsh Government’s action on climate change, which emerged as the major public concern in this week’s ‘Wales We Want’ report. We have been calling for the Government to spell out how it will deliver the necessary cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, so we’re glad to see the Minister commit to setting milestones on this, setting carbon budgets and a ‘clear pathway’ for action so that Wales has reduced its emissions by 80% by 2050.”

However, less optimistically, Pippa Bartolotti, leader of the Wales Green Party, stated: “Greens are deeply concerned that Wales has created more than 4 times its planned carbon pollution. The Wales Government has already abandoned 50 coastal communities to the rising, warming seas. Climate change cannot be wished away. It’s not too late to grab the initiative and turn our selfish track record into one of leadership on climate change prevention.

“We can do this quite easily by renationalising public transport and bringing in the best standards of connectivity, frequency and pricing which everyone can afford. Building houses to the latest carbon negative standards, as they do in much of Europe, would enable households to create clean energy and at the same time live in snug, affordable comfort. It is entirely possible for Wales to be a thriving low carbon economy. What we lack is the political will.”