Swansea MP Geraint speaks at COP22 Climate Change Conference to promote clean air and oppose fracking
Geraint Davies MP this month represented the Council of Europe with John Prescott, who led the landmark Kyoto negotiations, at the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.
The Conference follows from and builds on last year’s landmark climate change agreement in Paris, in which the UK committed to a new deal on greenhouse gas emissions.
Geraint Davies said, “I attended the COP22
conference because climate change is one of, if not the, biggest threat to humanity, and will undoubtedly hit the poorest hardest.
As Rapporteur on Fracking at the Council of Europe, I warned of the dangerous consequences of the practice, which is 2.5 times worse than coal for climate change.
“I also spoke on my new Clean Air Bill, introduced this week in Parliament, since 8 million people die a year as a result of global emissions. The President of the Inter Parliamentary Union is studying my Bill with the view to achieve action on this issue across different countries.
“COP22 is about implementing the Paris 2015 strategies to help keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees per annum. Otherwise we face irreversible climate disaster, species loss, mass migration, water shortages and war.
“The Government, despite signing last year’s climate change agreement, has repeatedly failed on environmental issues. Theresa May has given fracking companies the go-ahead to operate in the UK, despite clear evidence that this does more damage to climate change than burning coal, and clear opposition from local communities including Swansea. I wanted to use my place at COP22 to fight for a renewed commitment to fighting climate change, using the latest technology and research, including supporting forests of solar panels in Morocco in order to feed renewable energy into the European grid, and to protect our planet for future generations.”
Today I met with the White Ribbon Campaign UK, a global movement to help end male violence against women.
It’s not acceptable that in the UK, on average, two women are killed by their partner or a former partner every week. It needs to stop. I support the White Ribbon Campaign to take a stand against all male violence against women and girls and to encourage other men and boys to do the same.
Today I pledged to become an ambassador for the campaign, to help inform men and boys how they can play a role in reducing male violence against women through changing attitudes and culture. It’s important that men and boys realise that male violence against women and girls is predominantly a male issue. Some men and boys don’t realise that language that denigrates, belittles or disempowers women is part of the problem. It’s the responsibility of us all to prevent violence, to know how to help, and to encourage other men and boys to treat women and girls with respect. I look forward to speaking to Swansea schools on this vital issue.
The Government's management of rail electrification to Swansea has received a damning report from the spending watchdog the National Audit Office.
Delays in rail electrification are between 18 months and 3 years with cost over-runs of £2 billion or 70 per cent. This is due to bad cost and operational management. It is essential that the electrification to Swansea is not threatened by the Government's incompetence. Swansea will be hit hard if Brexit goes ahead as 25,000 people in Swansea Bay have jobs linked to exports to the EU which will face trade tariffs.
In addition, Swansea will lose hundreds of millions of pounds of EU funding if and when we leave the EU. That means it's crucial that the Conservatives honour their promise to extend rail electrification to Swansea so we are part of the Europe-wide electrified rail network. If we are left out it will hit inward investment and jobs in Swansea Bay. Swansea jobs and prosperity must not be the price paid for Conservative incompetence in planning and implementing rail electrification.
I'm calling for sanctions on those who attack police dogs and blood tests for those who spit or bite police
This week I spoke about the issue of police safety in Parliament, after the South Wales Police Federation raised concerns.
In the Commons I asked the Minister:
“Does the Minister accept that in many situations, police dogs and horses are sometimes attacked and that police officers can be bitten and spat at? Does he agree that people who spit at and bite police officers should be automatically given blood tests to check whether they have transmittable diseases and that there should be sanctions for people who attack police dogs and horses?”
Stephen Treharne, Chair of the Constables Branch Board at the South Wales Police Federation, said:
“It was very pleasing that Mr. Davies made an intervention. I have conveyed my personal thanks and that of the South Wales Police Officers that I represent to Mr. Davies, for taking the time to read my communication and then raising the issue. It is always heartening for constituents that such matters are listened to by their Member of Parliament.”
After the debate I said:
“Our police men and women work tirelessly in South Wales for public safety. I was honoured to receive the support of South Wales Police in bringing the crucial issue of police safety to Parliament. Over the last few years we have seen concerning statistics of police officer safety, and it is essential that the Government acts to put safeguards in place to protect these brave men and women who devote themselves to our local communities.”
In a debate following a High Court ruling that the UK is breaking international law with toxic levels of air pollution, I said:
“The Minister talked about nuts and sledgehammers and there being no need for a comprehensive plan, but does she not agree that she needs a proper fiscal strategy to incentivise consumers and producers so that we have a sustainable future, with an infrastructure of hydrogen and electric and a commitment to EU air quality standards, yet she has given us none of those things?”
This week’s High Court ruling highlights again the urgency of cleaning up the air we breathe. 40,000 premature deaths each year, as well as millions of pounds worth of NHS cost, are caused by air pollution in the UK. This year the Royal College of Physicians revealed that air pollution harms foetal development and can cause lung and heart disease as well as asthma. This is a public disaster which the Government must act on – to stop breaking the law, to save money and ultimately save lives.
I have presented the Air Quality Bill to Parliament with cross-party support. This Bill aims to save thousands of lives and billions of pounds in healthcare costs through giving more powers to local authorities to establish low emissions zones and pedestrian-only areas, and to additionally promote the development of trams, buses and taxis powered by electricity or hydrogen in designated areas for the purpose of improving air quality.