Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 4th November print edition.
Glasgow’s River Clyde was once home to one of the largest industrial docks in the UK, handling coal, cotton and tobacco. This was big business in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Today, the same riverside neighbours a booming engineering sector, focusing on aerospace design and renewable energy, along with research and innovation into low-carbon technology.
That this Scottish city should be the venue for the United Nation’s 26th climate change conference—the ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP)—is obviously fitting.
The two-week event kicked off with a two-day Leaders’ Summit, which saw over 120 leaders take part—including our Prime Minister, US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
There have also been contributions from HRH the Prince of Wales and Sir David Attenborough, putting politicians both in the spotlight, and calling on them to act.
We have seen already developments and commitments in key areas to help enhance the environment and tackle the climate crisis.
The UK has a proud record being the first major economy to legislate to achieve net zero by 2050, but when the UK accepted the Presidency of COP, under 30 per cent of the global economy had signed up to a net zero commitment.
That figure has since increased to 70 per cent, highlighting the positive impact Global Britain’s leadership has made on this critical challenge.
On Tuesday, it was announced that an agreement had been reached to end and reverse deforestation globally by 2030, along with commitments to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent.
These are all encouraging tools and targets to combat global warming, and come with significant financial contributions to help achieve their ambitious goals.
As the Prime Minister highlighted, in our fight against climate change, we are starting to prove equal to that challenge, and we have secured extra time.
But this is a challenge that will continue to require global attention, and continued action from the international community. To use another Scottish river analogy, it is rather like painting the Forth Bridge!
But this conference is providing a real opportunity to drive the leaders of the world into tackling climate change, and we can be extremely proud that Britain is leading the vanguard of that change.
However, Britain itself can only continue to lead that change if its people and industries continue to maintain that focus: be that increased energy efficiencies in Burton’s brewing industry, or a Uttoxeter resident taking up recycling for the first time.
We must all play our part, remain mindful, and keep helping our environment to help us through actions big and small; domestic and industrial; now and in the future—for generations to come.
I know Burton and Uttoxeter can meet that challenge, and I will use my position as your Member of Parliament to encourage and showcase your efforts to the rest of the United Kingdom.