The Lord Speaker, Lord McFall of Alcluith addressed the British Group of the Inter Parliamentary Union (BGIPU) this week at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow to share his thoughts on how the government can aim to reach the goals set out at the COP26 conference.
At the forefront of his address was an emphasis on the important role that parliaments will have to play over the coming years for us to achieve our climate targets.
The Lord Speaker highlighted that even when the global economy shut down during the recent pandemic, emissions only dropped by 6%, which puts the need for action and the challenge we are to face moving forward firmly in perspective.
It is his opinion that parliamentarians have a responsibility to accurately represent the needs of the people of this planet, particularly those whose voices may not be heard.
Lord McFall urged his fellow politicians not to leave the ideals of COP26 at the conference, but rather to go forth armed with the knowledge from this event, and to continue the environmental discussion. He pointed out that the risk to us all was very real if the dialogue simply stopped.
“The lesson for us here is that to achieve our agreed climate goals, our engagement must continue beyond these two weeks. And so, such dialogue, the lifeblood of our Parliaments, can lead to change.”
Notably, the House of Lords formed their own Committee on the Environment and Climate Change this year, chaired by Baroness Parminter. The Committee aims to ensure that responsible action is taken by the government on all fronts for issues concerning biodiversity and climate change.
The Lord Speaker highlighted several initiatives being taken by the Lords, including the ongoing campaign of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb for local support in transitioning to a zero-carbon economy, the efforts of the Duke of Wellington in his fight for sewage-free rivers, and the Baroness Hayman’s work towards cleaner air.
Finally, the Lord Speaker applauded the work of the House of Commons in their ongoing efforts to combat climate change and reiterated that Parliament was committed to making a tangible difference for future generations.