I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.
I understand that this Bill has been developed by campaign members of Extinction Rebellion, Big Ask and Power for the People. I note that the Bill seeks to examine the UK’s carbon footprint, including indirect emissions in the supply chain of UK goods.
The UK has made commitments to targets under the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. In January 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the UK will spend more than £3 billion of international climate finance on nature and biodiversity over five years. The funding will be spent on protecting land and ocean habitats, new methods in food production and supply, and supporting the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.
In conservation, the UK has designated 357 Marine Protected Areas of different types where there is a ban on activities deemed damaging to the areas' special features.
I do not believe citizens' assemblies have advantages over conventional policy-making in this context. Previous experiences in Canada, for instance, included citizens in the decision-making process but they failed to produce impactful or long-lasting results. I know that a Climate Assembly UK was formed as a result of work conducted by Parliamentary Select Committees and that Government has been observing its findings. Many of the assembly's recommendations, which were published in a report, have either been taken up by Government or are being considered.
While I welcome the increased debate this Bill brings, I do not believe that it is required as a means to supplement the UK’s usual decision-making process.