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Extinction Rebellion Is A Wake-Up Call

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Two million people in London are living with illegal air pollution. NHS is struggling to cope with pollution-related diseases. Air pollution causes at least 40,000 early deaths in the UK from lung and heart disease. Climate change is the environmental challenge of this generation, and it’s imperative that we act before it’s too late! Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn called the recent unprecedented wave of climate activism “a massive and necessary wakeup call” for “rapid and dramatic action, which only concerted government action and a Green Industrial Revolution can deliver. I must congratulate Corbyn on facing this challenge head on….writes Dr Kailash Chand

The leading experts in climate change warn us, “We’re facing the biggest environmental challenge our species has ever seen. Global warming is likely to be the greatest cause of species extinctions this century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says a 1.5°C average rise may put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 2°C, most ecosystems will struggle”.

Many of the world’s threatened species live in areas that will be severely affected by climate change. And climate change is happening too quickly for many species to adapt. Research commissioned by 20 governments has found that without action on climate change tens of millions of people will die by 2030, with more than 90% of those deaths occurring in the global South. More than700 people in the UK die every week from diseases related to air pollution, 20 times the number of deaths in road accidents.

Its breath of fresh air in the polluted climate of Brexit that Jeremy Corbyn launches bid to declare a national climate emergency. Mr Corbyn called the recent unprecedented wave of climate activism “a massive and necessary wakeup call” for “rapid and dramatic action, which only concerted government action and a Green Industrial Revolution can deliver.”

Mr Corbyn said that Labour hopes that if Parliament declares a climate emergency it “will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world.” It comes after weeks in which striking school children, ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protestors and David Attenborough have rocketed climate change up the national agenda.

Dr Kailash Chand with Jeremy Corbyn

For young people, the climate emergency is the cause of their generation. And we in the society must face up to this seriously. We have to have a much more focused and serious approach towards climate change and the damage we’re doing to our planet. We want a world for those in countries worst affected by and least to blame for climate change and our young people. In my view, Climate change is fundamentally an issue of justice. The poorest people in Asia and Africa have done the least to cause climate change, but it is those same people who will bear the brunt of its horrific impacts on their lives and livelihoods.

Labour will use an opposition motion on Wednesday to push Parliament to act with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which requires global emissions to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ before 2050.

The following Labour’s commitment is laudable :

  • the UK to achieve net zero emissions before 2050.
  • at least 60% of energy (electricity and heat) to come from low-carbon or renewable sources within twelve years of coming to power. This means 85-90% of electricity from low carbon sources.
  • to create of 400,000 well-paid, unionised jobs through retrofitting houses, and building the UK’s wind and solar power. Many more jobs will be created in other green sectors.
  • to a mass home insulation programme going street to street, with a zero carbon home standard for new-build homes.

“As human beings, we are vulnerable to confusing the unprecedented with the improbable. In our everyday experience, if something has never happened before, we are generally safe in assuming it is not going to happen in the future, but the exceptions can kill you and climate change is one of those exceptions”-Al Gore

I urge the other UK political parties join in and together pass this motion in parliament – and that political parties in rest of the world must follow their example.

Climate change is the environmental challenge of this generation, and it’s imperative that we act before it’s too late! I must congratulate Jeremy Corbyn on facing this challenge head on!

 

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