Launching the RSPB’s Green Recovery Plan

On the 29th of September , I was invited by the RSPB to help launch their Green Recovery Plan in Westminster (virtually). I joined their CEO Beccy Speight, climate specialist Mel Coath, Cambridge economist Dr Matthew Agarwala , and the chair of the Environmental Audit Committee Philip Dunne on a panel over zoom.

I addressed an audience of MPs, ministers and journalists, including writers from The Times and The Guardian, Jeremy Corbyn and Caroline Lucas, Environment Minister/Under Secretary of State Rebecca Pow and Shadow Minister Daniel Zeichner. My speech was about the need for a green recovery from COVID-19, how environmentally friendly policies will affect young people in the UK, and the extraordinary responsibility resting on our government over the next 15 months.

It was a difficult line to tread – the preceding weeks ahead of the speech revealed the government’s failure to meet 17 of its 20 international biodiversity targets and the fact that none of the UK’s rivers were within legal pollution limits, but conversely some promising words about protecting biodiversity, and raising ambition both for climate targets ahead of COP26 and biodiversity targets in the form of a Leader’s Pledge for Nature. The government has very much begun to talk the talk on the climate and biodiversity crises, but I wouldn’t trust that any of this will be followed through with meaningful action without immense sustained public pressure.

That’s the mandate for the next year. It’s going to be a very tough, but very exciting 13 months in the runup to COP26, and I have no doubt we’ll continue to see what Christiana Figueres describes as the concurrent exponential curve of climate disaster and exponential curve of climate action. I have plans brewing, which I’m very excited about, and which I will hopefully be able to share before too long.

You can listen to my speech from approximately 12:00 in the above video.

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