seaice1*Unprecedented changes in Arctic sea ice a threat not an economic opportunity, says Molly

Greens have accused both the Conservatives and Labour of turning a blind eye to the threats posed by climate change. The accusation comes after Philip Hammond failed to make a single mention of climate change in last week’s Autumn Statement and an International Trade committee paper drafted by a Labour MEP suggests that ‘climate change is creating new opportunities for the economic development of the Arctic [1].’

Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, said:

“Something very worrying is happening to artic sea ice. It has declined dramatically in recent months. This should sound alarm bells about accelerating climate change and the urgency of decisive action, particularly following the signing of the Paris Agreement which commits governments to work to limit global warming to 2 degrees. Instead there is deathly silence from the government while Labour celebrate the fact that a shrinking arctic offers new economic opportunities; they seem delighted that declining sea ice offers a chance to further exploit oil and gas reserves – the very resources responsible for cooking the planet. Climate scientists and responsible politicians know that these resources must be left in the ground.”

Last week Dr Scott Cato released a paper ahead of the Autumn Statement outlining an investment plan driven by the need to tackle climate change. The flagship investment was a £45bn nationwide home retrofit insulation programme which would insulate 9 million homes and take at least 2 million homes out of fuel poverty. The plan also called for a £15bn investment in natural flood defences, something the government has neglected. Molly Scott Cato concluded:

“Only the Greens are committed to tackling climate change and while we do so we can create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and make life safer, more secure and healthier for millions of people.” 

Notes

[1] The first paragraph of the International Trade Committee opinion on the Commission Communication on the Arctic Sea, by draftsman, David Martin MEP (Labour) reads: 

1. Acknowledges that climate change is creating new opportunities for the economic development of the Arctic through the potential exploitation of energy resources such as oil and gas, the creation of new shipping routes and the intensification of tourism activities, which would boost trade with, and investment in, the area…

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