Swansea West MP, Geraint Davies, met up with Swansea Extinction Rebellion protestors and spoke out against the government’s failure to take urgent action on climate change as thousands stood protesting outside Parliament.
Speaking in Parliament Mr Davies said, “Climate change is not an inconvenient truth, as Al Gore put it. It is a global emergency. That is why thousands of people outside this place, many from Swansea and millions across the world are saying, “Act now.” They know we are essentially smoking ourselves to death with fossil fuels. We are guzzling gasoline as if there is no tomorrow. They know, as we should, that that will force migration, war, famine, water shortages and loss of insects—the list goes on. We sit around here saying, “We played a great game in Britain,” but the reason carbon emissions have gone down in Britain is that we closed our coal mines and exported our industry to China. Now we are bringing it over in ships, using more carbon. We sit here talking about 2050 as if it is a great achievement, when it is not.
“The latest prediction, given by Nature last year, was 1.5° change by 2030, not 2040. That is why we need to up our game to 2030 ourselves.
“The Government goes ahead with fracking, which generates 5% of methane emissions. Methane is 83 times worse than CO2 for global warming, making it worse than coal. We should stop fracking now. The Government stopped onshore wind because of a few nimbies. We want wind. We want waves in Swansea lagoon. We want solar. Everyone is going on about nuclear, but the biggest nuclear opportunity is the sun itself. We should have networks—we have got Africa linked into southern Europe—and work together for change.
“The Committee on Climate Change says we have done woefully badly on insulation in homes. We could combat fuel poverty and reduce emissions. We need a new clear air Act. We need to bring forward the banning of the sale of all cars that run on fossil fuels—diesel and petrol—to 2030 instead of 2042. We need to tax. We need a fiscal strategy to drive people’s expectations and interest towards carbon neutrality and carbon negativity, but we are not doing that because we want to please the motorist, and we keep a freeze on diesel. We want a tax on plastics as well.
“We also need to think about our trade. Why are we, with the whole process of Brexit, turning away from our nearest market to markets further afield? There should be a carbon charge on our trade, and we should think carefully about Brexit. Why is it that we can all fly to Spain for 50 quid, when it costs £100 to go by train to Swansea? That is not sustainable. Why do we not act? It is because we are frightened of people. What about fossil fuel subsidies? We are subsidising fossil fuels by £12 billion a year, compared with £8 billion for renewables.
“The reality is that if it is not painful now it will be agony later. We need to take the tough action now and stop messing around patting ourselves on the back pretending we are solving the problem when in fact we are part of it. Those who will not act should shift to one side and let someone who will do it.”
Speaking afterwards Geraint Davies said , “I stand with protestors from Swansea who are tired of the government failing to protect our environment and our children’s futures. I am speaking out for Swansea youth climate protesters. We must take the strain now to avoid their devastation later.”