Taking action on climate change

Carl Sargeant outlines how the Welsh Government is committing to tackle climate change.

2015 is a crucial year for mobilising international action on climate change and sustainable development. That’s why I am very pleased the Welsh Government will be supporting WWF’s Earth Hour on March 28th, turning out the lights at many of our buildings and Cadw monuments across Wales to show our support for our planet.

I’m proud that Wales is joining this global celebration as a symbol of our support for the environment. Yet again we expect hundreds of thousands of people in Wales to take part, joining many millions around the world. Our iconic landmarks, including the Senedd, will join famous buildings from New York to Sydney in switching off the lights.

But of course Earth Hour is about more than joining in on the night. It’s also a reminder that we need to take action throughout the year to secure a brighter future.

In September this year, 193 United Nations member states will be agreeing the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In December, governments from around the world will meet in Paris to agree a new global treaty on climate change under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process. Securing these agreements is vital if we are to keep global warming below the agreed upper limit of 2 degrees Celsius, support equitable and sustainable use of resources, and tackle poverty.

It is therefore vitally important that Wales, in this momentous year, continues to demonstrate international leadership.

The recent passing of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill is a huge achievement. We are one of the first countries to have legislated to put sustainable development at the heart of our government and our public services to help us safeguard the interests of future generations. We have also sought to align the seven well-being goals in the Bill with the emerging UN international Sustainable Development Goals. . The world has been watching us along this journey and I have no doubt it will be celebrated. We should be very proud of what we have achieved, but the work now starts to deliver the Wales we want.

Wales faces a number of long-term challenges, including climate change, which in particular will impact the most vulnerable here in Wales. It will also have very  real  human  impact   beyond  our  borders  –  for  example  through  famine, drought and damage to the precious forests, rivers and oceans on which many communities depend for their survival.  The seventh goal in the Well-being of Future Generations raises the importance of Wales’ global responsibility.

Climate change is very much a people as well as planet issue. Recognising the social justice impacts of climate change continues to underpin our work internationally with partners, including our work in Africa.

I am proud of Wales’  record. We were one of the first  countries  to  have  a sustainable development duty, the first Fair Trade Nation and one of the first countries to legislate for Active Travel.

Of course there is still a long way to go. That is why I have committed to climate targets in Environment Bill – to better evaluate our progress, provide certainty to help drive investment for a low-carbon economy and confirm achievable targets to work towards, with the overall target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 80% in 2050 against 1990 levels. I want to make sure Wales is doing all it can to take full accountability of its global duty.

Ultimately though, no government can tackle climate change alone. It requires collective action.  Our aim is therefore also to enable and empower people to act. That is why Earth Hour is so important as an accessible way for people to show they care for our planet, and to inspire them to take positive action.

Carl Sargeant AM is Minister for Natural Resources. This piece originally appeared on the WWF-UK blog site.

4 thoughts on “Taking action on climate change

  1. Very welcome, but I have two comments:
    Firstly our aim is not to save the planet. As Naomi Wolf has pointed out, without our species the planet can look after itself – it’s homo sapiens we are trying to save.
    Secondly I have yet to see a commitment from the Welsh Assembly to a no-growth economy. The only “development” we are likely to be able to sustain in future is maximising technological efficiency. It is very unlikely that we will become more prosperous, and if we do not take urgent steps towards a more equal society we are all likely to get a good deal less prosperous.

  2. You can’t have a no growth economy if the population is growing. Even if the population stabilises, maximising technological efficiency is a continuous process that will lead to higher output per head, properly measured., i.e. growth. That is not to deny that there are natural contraints that growth will have to observe – much lower carbon emissions for example. if we can stabilise the population, no-one has demonstrated that the various natural constraints mean living standards cannot go on rising with technical progress.

  3. I am concerned about climate change but I’m not concerned about man-made global warming or carbon emissions…

    How can this possibly be unless they are not the same thing? Oh, that’s right, I am concerned about northern hemisphere cooling from a predicted solar minimum starting pretty soon and peaking around 2035.

    In the States the red-green FUD about environmental issues doesn’t seem to be working as well as it did – even when Gallup pretends that global warming and climate change might be the same thing the issue still ranks dead last amongst perceived environmental threats!


    A similar poll carried out in the UK would be very interesting. With no discernible warming for over 18 years, despite temperature data manipulation on an industrial scale, the people no longer believe the Green Blob’s campaign of lies and deceit. And that means they’re going to stop voting for it as well. So the political class who have embedded these false canards into their policies are going to see their support drain away to parties like UKIP which will repeal the Climate Change Act and bring down energy prices by cancelling unsustainable subsidies for unsustainable renewable power generation.

    Expect to see the politics warming up even if the planet isn’t!

  4. Excuse me Mr Sargeant. If I dont vomit by anything you or the so called politicised NRW have to comment on about the environment. This from a WAG monolith that has overseen the installation in cardiff bay of a polluting incinerator, that is about to burn nuclear waste and all the waste from around the world that no one will else will touch. With well over 400+ polluting emmissions already on our doorstep in the narrow confines of the M4 corridor and wales pollution levels higher than any other region of the UK and one of the highest in europe. You take the biscuit by your comments. If you want to ensure that Wales has the cleanestand safest air to breath in the UK. You will close this polluter down and look to proven new non polluting new technology to replace it. You would also concentrate on getting a proper railway system established to connect all the communities of wales and concentrate less on building roads that just attract more vehicles and congestion and further pollution. I carried out a study of eastern cardiff many years back and fohnd that some 15,000+ commuters who have no option but road transprt to get into the capital city would love to transfer to a rail commuter service. With stations at every local community not just a few. Visitthe city of Vancouver for example and marvel at their rail commuter system or better still visit Disney world in Florida and stand amazed at the extremely efficient monorail that takes millions of visitors across some 48 square miles of well maintained and serviced tracks without much in the way of queing. The NRW should be taken from the WAG and given to the Police to run and ensure its total independence from political interference which is what it is now.

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