In the same week as the Bristol Youth Strike for Climate, the Liberal Democrats have put forward an ambitious and radical plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2045, 5 years before the government's pledge.
A key plank of the new proposal is to unleash democracy throughout the process. These measures include:
- Legislating to create a statutory duty for each principal local authority to set a Zero-Carbon Strategy, including local and community power generation, home energy retrofits and local transport and land use plans, with an accompanying major decentralisation of powers and resources.
- Ensuring climate objectives are a top priority for central government, including appointing a cabinet-level Chief Secretary for Sustainability in the Treasury, creating a new Department for Climate and Natural Resources and introducing a requirement on all public bodies to report on the extent to which climate risks pose a threat to their ability to fulfil their responsibilities.
- Establishing a national Citizen’s Climate Assembly to improve public engagement, tasked with debating every aspect of climate policy and delivering recommendations to government and stimulating public debate.
- Ensuring that any public engagement activity must include empowering poorer and BAME communities and people with access and mobility requirements to play a central role in agreeing the changes needed to tackle the climate crisis, particularly locally.
James Cox, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Bristol West, said:
"The success or failure of our mission to end the climate chaos and to reach net-zero by 2045 will depend on whether or not we have been able to take people with us on this journey. It's not enough to simply tell people what they have to do, people in Bristol and across the country must be empowered to make better choices.
"Having a Citizens' Climate Assembly at the heart of our Zero-Carbon Strategy will allow ordinary people to have their voice and to help shape our pathway to net-zero. This means also making concerted efforts to engage with and empower BAME communities in the city, people living in poorer areas and those with access and mobility requirements because they are the ones who are at the highest risk from the climate emergency but they are also being ignored and silenced.
“A Bristol Citizens' Climate Assembly will ensure that the next set of politicians sent to Westminster do not dither on the issue and are clear on their mission: to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions as soon as possible.”