Fight against climate change is uphill ride

By Luciana Berger, February 2, 2012

Many communities, commentators and politicians agree that climate change is the single greatest challenge facing humanity. To combat it requires people, business, government and international bodies to work together to make changes that will safeguard our planet's resources and enable our economies to produce sustainable growth and new green jobs.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit in Rio, the United Nations summit which put man-made climate change on the global political agenda for the first time.

The summit led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which was proudly signed by the then labour government.

In government, Labour led the way on the international stage. We were the first nation to call for a UN Security Council meeting on climate change. We passed the Climate Change Act - a world first, legally binding the UK government to reduce carbon emissions by a third by 2020.

David Cameron says he wants his government to be the "greenest ever". But he has failed to make a single speech, or attend a single conference on climate change. The funding for carbon capture and storage has been quietly shelved. The Green Investment Bank delayed yet again. The Coalition's disastrous handling of their changes to the Feed-in-Tariff for solar power has put thousands of jobs and businesses in the solar industry at risk and will exclude nearly nine out of 10 families from having solar power.

In this context, it is inspiring to hear of community groups pressing ahead and taking action. I am thrilled to endorse and support the Big Green Jewish Year of the Bicycle - a year of activity and activism engaging the Jewish community with efforts to make all of our transport more sustainable.

I am particular heartened by the ambitious and cross-communal rabbi relay ride. It is grassroots community initiatives throughout our society that should remind the Coalition of the leadership they need to demonstrate. It serves as another example of the role faith and community groups can play in tackling the biggest challenge of our age.

Luciana Berger is Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree and Shadow Minister for Climate Change

Last updated: 11:59am, February 2 2012