On this page last week, I mentioned the recent warm weather in the UK, with a passively positive reference to the onset of our national summer holidays. However, the underlying science beneath the record-breaking temperatures that have engulfed Western Europe over the last month give great cause for concern.
Meteorologists have determined that the intensity of the heatwave, which saw all time high temperatures in both the UK and France, was increased by as much as 3°C by manmade Climate Change. The degradation of our environment isn’t a remote problem, it is one that affects our everyday lives here in Maidstone and The Weald. It is a challenge that must shape decisions on personal, business and public sector levels about how we travel around, where we live and how we earn a living.
There is an undeniable global recognition that action must be taken to arrest the damage that greenhouse gas emissions are causing to our environment. There is also, now, a seemingly unstoppable momentum amongst Governments worldwide towards taking the action required, and I am very encouraged that the UK is leading the way.
Some progress has already been achieved; with UK carbon emissions cut by 40% since 1990, remarkably against the backdrop of an economy that has grown by two thirds. Decision makers from every corner of our political divide recognise, however, that there is a great deal more to do and that tackling Climate Change will require a joined-up international effort over many decades.
I am proud, therefore, that the UK has become the first nation in the world to introduce a legally binding net-zero emissions target, ending our contribution to global warming entirely by 2050. This will be challenging and will require real focus from our future Governments and our people. Most importantly we are setting the standard for others around the world to follow, because without a concerted approach, our efforts and sacrifices will be worthless.