This letter was published in the Guardian on 14 May 2019:

Your editorial (13 May) correctly states that Britain needs a Green New Deal now, and indeed in your letters page last autumn (10 September) our report detailing what form such a “jobs in every constituency” Green New Deal could take, and how to pay for it, was supported by a cross-party group of MPs, NGO leaders and academics. Since then the idea has gained international traction thanks to the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the support of grassroots movements. The US approach also includes the need to improve economic security for the majority, which has widened its support base. Finally, the scientific data underscoring the need to act in the next 10 years to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss has resulted in unprecedented activist pressure on politicians to respond.

As a result, all opposition parties are calling for the declaration of a climate emergency, but the government’s actual policies – from fracking to the rollback of support for renewables and energy efficiency – are making things worse. Yet all is not lost. At the end of last year more than 60 Tory MPs signed an all-party letter calling on the prime minister to back a net zero-emissions target ahead of 2050. Clearly the disconnect here is the lack of necessary political will. MPs should take inspiration from President Kennedy’s call in 1961 to put a man on the moon within a decade, but this time the priority must be to save the planet, rather than leave it.

About the author