COP26 is the moment for government to act
31 October 2021
Thanks in part to pressure from people voting Green and from Green party presence at the Council, St Albans District has developed a meaningful strategy for responding to the climate and biodiversity emergency. It has also carried out some tangible measures as part of that strategy, such as investing in solar power, planting trees, and allowing some green spaces to regenerate or ‘rewild’.
There is a great deal more to do locally - on cleaner transport, low carbon homes and renewable energy. So it’s vital that people in our district keep up the pressure on local politicians to see this strategy through.
But the main burden of tackling this crisis rests on the shoulders of national politicians. It is only our government that can introduce a carbon tax that would make fossil fuels increasingly uneconomic, and redistribute that income to support low income households and green businesses. It is only our government that can create laws to mandate lower vehicle emissions, well-insulated homes and better protection for nature.
Of course personal action is also important, to find how each of us can step more lightly on the planet. But it’s worth remembering that the concept of your ‘carbon footprint’ was popularised in the early 2000's by the marketing department of BP, precisely because it shifts the focus of responsibility on to us instead of them.
That’s why COP26 in Glasgow is so important. It’s the moment when governments must face up to their responsibility to act on our behalf. It’s the moment when they must remove the billions in subsidies given to oil and gas and start the work to wind up those industries. Some changes will be win-win, but some will be difficult and not necessarily popular. But the alternative is unimaginable, and infinitely worse than acting now.