Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Barry opens event launch of the ‘Lower carbon, cleaner air’ communiqué

Climate change and air quality issues are deeply connected. That’s why, on the first of March, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and Clean Air Alliance launched an initiative to join up these two agendas. Barry, as Shadow Minister for Energy & Climate Change, began the event with some opening comments.

It has taken too long to fully join up climate change and air quality. Both problems suffer from lack of visibility of the pollutants – carbon dioxide and air pollutants are of huge detriment to us, hiding in plain sight.  As a ‘silent’ killer, air pollution contributes up to 40,000 early deaths per year in the UK.

Organisations like ClientEarth are now rightly using taking the government to court over their woeful efforts to clean up our air quality, forcing the government to take this issue seriously. 

At the Paris climate deal, the world recognised that tackling climate change is about much more than just carbon – it is about health, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and protecting species like the chestnut-eared aracari. We need a national framework in the UK to tackle air pollution; we can’t just have piecemeal sticking plasters for communities.

Europe has also been a driving force for most of the significant regulation on pollution in the UK. When the UK is doing the right thing at EU level, we can ratchet up what other countries are doing as well, for the benefit of us all. We can’t just tackle either climate change or air pollution as a single nation – we have one shared atmosphere.

The Communiqué can be found here.

The key points of the Communiqué are as follows:

  1. We share a common challenge
  2. There are industrial and economic opportunities for the UK
  3. Common assessment methods are essential
  4. Policies should be based on performance not technology and be directed at the appropriate level
  5. Accelerated and consistently applied action is needed to meet and exceed mandated national targets and European regulations for climate change and air quality

All photos by | LowCVP

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