UK must establish ‘climate crisis cabinet’

The Green Party is calling on the UK Government to take urgent climate action in the wake of the failure of negotiations at COP26. The nation still holds the presidency for a further year, the party notes, giving it time to strengthen the summit’s limited outcomes.

Houses of Parliament
Green World

The Green Party yesterday (15 November) called for a ‘climate crisis cabinet’ to be convened immediately to push through significant climate action in the UK, in the wake of the failure of negotiations at COP26.

Following the announcement of the final deal at the summit on Saturday (13 November), the Green Party were clear that the agreement had failed to reach anywhere near the progress needed to keep 1.5C within reach.

Despite the disappointment and frustration at the missed opportunity, the party maintains that there is still a chance to strengthen the limited COP26 outcomes, as the UK holds the presidency for a further year. 

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay said: “There is a huge task ahead to salvage the weak agreement reached in Glasgow. The UK must use its continuing COP presidency – up until November 2022 – to show global leadership. But we can only do that if we are setting an example ourselves here at home. 

“That’s why we’re calling on the government to convene a UK ‘climate crisis cabinet’ now, to get our domestic house in order so we can show, not just tell, our global counterparts the level of action that’s required. This action must help us prepare for the changes to the climate that are already baked in, as well as avoiding the worst effects of the climate crisis.

“We need the UK government to lead the way and put us on an emergency footing by creating a diverse ‘climate crisis cabinet’ to put us on the path to a Green New Deal.”

The climate crisis cabinet, the Greens say, should take advice from a range of climate experts, alongside representatives from the Global South that are most affected by climate change. It would then assign specific targets to key ministers with monthly reporting on progress to achieve them. The climate crisis cabinet would also be expected to follow the recommendations of the Climate Assembly, which reported in September 2020.

As a minimum, the Greens are calling for six measures to be agreed upon and pushed through by the climate crisis cabinet as a matter of priority: 

  1. Oversee a commitment to spend £100 billion a year for a decade on a Green New Deal to transform our society and economy for a green future. A carbon tax would both generate funds to help pay for this and hold polluters to account for their emissions.
  2. A commitment to introduce a ‘climate test’ for all government projects leading to the scrapping of those incompatible with urgent climate action. This means no £27bn road-building project, no more airport expansion and no additional oil, gas and coal. 
  3. Task the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with an urgent review of ongoing and proposed fossil fuel subsidies with a view to immediately ending them.
  4. Immediately reverse the cut to the UK’s overseas aid budget and secure funding for climate reparations, in recognition of the harm already caused by the climate crisis, and to compensate countries in the Global South for the loss and damage caused by the changing climate and build a green economy for the future. 
  5. Commit the UK to the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  6. Sign up to the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance - an international coalition of governments led by Denmark and Costa Rica and stakeholders working to facilitate the managed phase-out of oil and gas production.

Ramsay continued: “As well as putting pressure on the government to take this immediate, critical action, in the wake of COP failure we will be working harder than ever to get more Greens elected and support the work of communities, businesses and organisations to effect change on the ground. This is the crucial decade to stop catastrophic climate change and we cannot let a lack of leadership at COP26 stop us in our tracks now."