This week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the latest instalment of a UN report that was signed off by 270 scientists from 67 countries – a truly global warning.

According to the report, the world is already facing “unequivocal” consequences of climate change, which is intensifying heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires. It states that more than three billion people are highly vulnerable to the consequences of the climate crisis and that the rises in sea level pose an existential threat for some small islands. I am extremely concerned about issues of human displacement and climate justice. Often those who have contributed the least to the crisis are the ones to bear the brunt of our ever-changing and extreme weather.

The report identifies the most vulnerable regions as west, central and east Africa, south Asia and Central and South America, plus many small island states. This is why last month, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary calling for a firm commitment to supporting climate vulnerable countries and ensuring that aid reaches those who need it most. More widely, I believe that developed nations have a moral duty to provide climate finance to developing nations, an issue that I wrote about after COP26 in Glasgow.

The solutions and policies are out there. What is lacking is leadership, determination and bravery. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres: “All nations, especially the G20 and other major emitters, need to join the net-zero emissions coalition and reinforce their commitments with credible, concrete and enhanced nationally determined contributions and policies before COP26 in Glasgow.”


António is right; we need immediate action. Here in the UK, Prime Minister Johnson is too scared of his plotting backbenchers and Chancellor to fully respond to the crisis. Amidst the crisis in Ukraine, many Tory MPs have said that it would be foolish to end our dependency on gas and oil. I disagree.

It is clear that our obsession with gas and oil, especially from Russia, makes our economy and energy resources vulnerable. The International Energy Agency makes clear that the pathway the world needs to take to get to a net zero energy system by 2050 involves no new oil and gas fields being approved for development beyond projects already committed to as of this year. Although Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Johnson to stop the development of Cambo oil field, the project is set to go ahead.

During COP26, the world promised to limit warming to 1.5C. However current emissions could lead to a 2.7C rise – I don’t have to tell you how devastating this will be for our planet and future generations. It is more urgent then ever that the UK government, and other nations, listen to the scientists and evidence and come together to tackle this global crisis and save the planet.

I have also written to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to raise my concerns about the IPCC report and the UK’s lack of progress with tackling the climate change. You can read my letter here:

Dear Mr Kwarteng,

I am getting in touch following the latest IPCC Report that was published on 28th February 2022. 

According to the report, the world is already facing “unequivocal” consequences of climate change, which is intensifying heatwaves, floods, droughts and wildfires. This will lead to a great loss of life and habitat and will impact future generations. Although during COP26, the world promised to limit warming to 1.5C, current emissions could lead to a 2.7C rise. 

In the UK, I believe we are unprepared for the challenge ahead. As Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, I would like to know what your priorities are for tackling the climate crisis.

Last year, you announced your Heat and Building Strategy. However I am concerned that this plan did not include new information about home insulation or plans to ensure that all new builds are fully insulated. Your “Boiler Upgrade Scheme” will only subsidise 30,000 new heat pumps over the three-year period – that’s a far cry from its target of 600,000 heat pumps. I receive countless emails from constituents who are stuck in cold and leaky homes and are in need of urgent help.

Recently the Government scrapped its Green Homes Grant – the one opportunity to cover the costs of making homes greener and sustainable. Please could you let me know if this scheme will be replaced?

I believe you must prioritise urgent investment so that we can firstly, ensure that all homes are leak-proof and fully insulated and secondly, prioritise the building of sustainable, long-term and fully insulated homes. This would also require grants for efficient heat pump installations for all those who need it.

As I am sure you agree, it is more urgent than ever that the UK government listens to the scientists and invests now for a cleaner and greener future. This must start with our homes. 

I would be grateful for your comments on this issue and responses to my raised concerns and questions. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine West
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green

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